An EPA report has found raw sewage flows into the sea at 43 areas around Ireland and that the planned delivery of treatment plants at half of these areas has now been delayed by almost two years.
The EPA report on Urban Waste Water Treatment found that 29 large towns and cities fail to meet mandatory EU waste water treatment standards and that the final EU deadline for the provision of treatment was in 2005.
Of most concern however, it was found 43 areas around the country were still discharging raw sewage into the sea with 34 of these being found on the west coast.
Cork and Donegal both had 11 areas where no sewage treatment occurred with Clare (5), Galway (5) and Mayo (2) making up the rest on the western seaboard. The other counties affected were Wexford (4), Louth (1) Dublin (2) and Wicklow (2).
It’s believed these waste water discharges contributed to the poor quality water found at 6 popular beaches including Merrion Strand, Youghal Front Strand and Duncannon last year.
The EPA report highlights that significant investment in public waste water treatment infrastructure is needed to eliminate discharges of raw sewage and protect our environment and public health from the adverse effects of waste water discharges.
Commenting on the report Gerard O’Leary, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said the report shows Ireland is not spending enough to deal with the problem: “The pace of resolving waste water treatment needs to improve. It is not acceptable that the timeframe to eliminate the discharge of raw sewage from over 20 areas has slipped by almost 2 years. We need to see increased capital investment and improved efficiencies in the delivery of the outstanding infrastructure necessary to protect our rivers, lakes and coastal waters and for a more sustainable quality of life.”