Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Water Services Provision
176. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 1056 of 4 November 2014, if his Department will in fact quantify for each local authority the number of housing estates involved in this problem and if, in view of the pilot project referred to in his reply, he will provide the agencies and authorities participating in that pilot project; if he will provide a roadmap which clearly indicates the various stages involved in quantifying the extent of the problems faced; the costs associated with resolving them; the legal hurdles involved where the estates remain in private ownership and any other associated issues so that individual residents within these estates may clearly grasp the scale of the problems involved; if it is his intention subject to this pilot project to seek funding in 2015 to put in place a resolution to this problem on an estate by estate basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44550/14]
The definitive number of estates with developer - provided water services infrastructure is not known. However, preliminary analysis undertaken in 2013 by my Department, in consultation with the Water Services Transition Office and with Irish Water, indicates that, nationally, there may be approximately 800 residential developments with developer-provided stand-alone wastewater treatment plants and/or water treatment systems that are not connected to the public networks. However, it should be noted that this is an estimate only and I am unable to provide a breakdown on a local authority basis at this time.
The steering group for the pilot project is comprised of my Department, representatives of Irish Water, the County and City Management Association and the EPA. The local authorities participating in the project will be nominating an engineer who will focus on issues within the authority’s functional area.
There will be two elements to the project. Firstly, each participating local authority will provide a list of all estates in its functional area where developer-provided water services infrastructure is present, along with more detailed information regarding the particular development and the water or wastewater treatment systems serving the development. The second element of the project will involve selecting a sample number of the developments listed for more detailed technical investigation. This will provide valuable information regarding the nature and condition of the water or waste water infrastructure present and will make recommendations as to how best to engineer solutions.
The information regarding a representative sample of developments will ultimately inform the evolution of a national policy regarding the taking-in-charge by local authorities of developments with developer provided water services infrastructure present and, where appropriate, the connection of the infrastructure to Irish Water. The issues of funding and of establishing a timeframe for the remediation of the problems which exist across the country will be addressed based on the outputs from the project.