Three wastewater treatment plants in Co. Tipperary have been cited as facilities that do not meet EU standards of wastewater treatment, according to a new report.
The European Union’s Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive sets standards for the collection, treatment and discharge of urban waste water from large urban areas. There are 185 large urban areas in Ireland and 135 of these complied with the legally binding standards in 2016.
In Co. Tipperary, Mullinahone, Roscrea, and Thurles are regarded as “areas where improvements are required to resolve environmental priorities.”
Thurles was also cited as an example of a “Large Urban Area where the collection and treatment of urban waste water did not meet European Union standards.”
A total of 50 large urban areas failed the standards in 2016, including our two largest cities, Dublin and Cork. These 50 areas account for almost two thirds (64%) of the national waste water load collected in all large urban areas.
There is further information on the standards that were breached at each of these areas in Appendix B (See report here - https://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/wastewater/uwwreport2016.html).
The underlying cause of many failures is a lack of infrastructure. Other failures were due to inadequate operation and management practices, and insufficient treatment plant capacity. The scale of the non-compliances varied across the different urban areas. Some areas, such as Cobh, discharged raw sewage throughout the year. At other towns, such as Kinsale, just one or two of the effluent samples taken during the year failed the Directive’s standards.
Meeting the standards in the Directive is a key step in protecting our environment from the adverse effects of waste-water discharges. The European Commission is taking Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union because of the ongoing failure to ensure that waste-water is adequately collected and treated. The collection and treatment of waste-water at 50 large urban areas did not meet European Union standards. Infrastructure and operational improvements are needed to bring Ireland into compliance with the Directive.