The pace at which Irish Water is fixing the legacy of deficiencies in the country’s waste water treatment infrastructure is too slow, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has complained.
The agency's latest report on urban waste water treatment (covering 2018) highlighted that raw sewage from 36 towns and villages was still being released into coastal waters and rivers. The document noted that raw sewage discharges would continue past 2021 in 13 locations.
EPA director Dr Tom Ryan said: “ We are seeing repeated delays in providing treatment for many areas and it is not acceptable that 13 towns and villages will still have no waste water treatment by the end of 2021. Irish Water must speed up its delivery of key infrastructure.”
Publicly-owned Irish Water admitted that progress on new and upgraded wastewater facilities “has been slower than we would like. This is due to re-scoping of plans or where we have planning or other statutory issues.” Irish Water also pointed out that that since 2014 it had prioritised expenditure on drinking water infrastructure. It stressed that its priorities were shifting.
“In 2020, for the first time, expenditure of wastewater projects will match the expenditure on drinking water as key projects reach important construction milestones. This is an important development in Irish Water’s delivery of wastewater infrastructure and one that ensures we will meet the ambitious delivery targets set for us,” insisted Sean Lafferty, Irish Water’s head of asset management.