Written answers

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Wastewater Treatment

Photo of Holly CairnsHolly Cairns (Cork South West, Social Democrats)
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18. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the steps his Department is taking to address cases of untreated wastewater entering streams and rivers. [32968/22]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local level, including investment in waste water treatment plants and returning treated waste water safely to the environment in an efficient and sustainable manner.

The EPA is the key statutory body for investigating complaints of pollution and for the enforcement, both directly and through oversight of Irish Water and local authorities, of environmental legislation in Ireland, including compliance in relation to licensed urban waste water discharges.

The direct discharge of untreated sewage to the environment is clearly not a tenable situation, and one which I earnestly wish to see addressed as soon as possible. When Irish Water was established in 2014, they inherited a system in need of very significant improvement. 

In this regard, the National Development Plan 2021-2030 commits to almost €6 billion in capital  investment by Irish Water in the period from 2021-2025, of which over €4.5 billion will be Voted Exchequer funded in respect of domestic water services. As part of Budget 2022, I secured funding of over €1.57 billion to support water services. This includes €1.459 billion in respect of domestic water services provision by Irish Water.

In April 2022 I announced €50 million in funding from the NDP to provide waste water facilities in areas not serviced with waste water collection and treatment systems.  The EU funded National Recovery and Resilience Programme includes the €20m River Basin Management Plan Enhanced Ambition Programme which aims to complete 10 small waste water treatment plants.

This overall investment will deliver significant improvements in our public water and waste water services, support improved water supplies right across Ireland, including rural Ireland, and support a range of programmes delivering improved water quality in our rivers, lakes and marine areas.


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