Irish Water, Ireland’s national water utility responsible for providing and developing water and waste water services throughout Ireland, today welcomed the publication of The EPA Urban Waste Water Report 2013. Irish Water took over responsibility for public waste water services in January 2014, immediately after the period covered by this report. The report underlines the major challenge faced to ensure Ireland develops a top quality waste water infrastructure. 

As outlined in today’s report the management and treatment of waste water in Ireland is wholly inadequate leading to situations where untreated waste water is being discharged from 44 urban centres, including 9 large urban centres. Additionally, in 8 major urban centres the existing infrastructure is not sufficient to meet treatment standards as set by the European Directive on urban waste water treatment. Inadequacies such as those highlighted by the EPA for 2013 have been present for many years.

Irish Water’s task is to improve Ireland’s water infrastructure over a number of years. Since taking over responsibility for public waste water services in 2014, Irish Water has already made progress on a number of waste water projects. Major waste water treatments projects are now in construction in many locations including, Carrigtwohill, Clifden, Swords, Leixlip, Osberstown (Naas, Newbridge, Kilcullen and Clane), Mutton Island, Clonakilty and Waterford Town’s Scheme.
Commenting on today’s announcement, Jerry Grant, head of assets, Irish Water said; “Today’s report provides an accurate baseline statement defining the scale of the challenge and improvements required to ensure Ireland has a waste water infrastructure that is fit for purpose. It outlines in stark reality the condition of the assets Irish Water has inherited and the complete lack of infrastructure across many urban centres where raw sewage is discharged directly into our coastal waters.

“Irish Water has begun to deliver on many of the projects required to improve waste water treatment. We are now taking a national approach to the provision of public water services, prioritising investment where it can deliver the most urgently needed improvements at the lowest achievable cost, ensuring quality and value for our customers.”

He concluded; “The fact that over 170 infrastructural improvements required in EPA licences before the end of 2013 were not completed underlines the need for a change in how public water services are funded and delivered in Ireland.”

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About Irish Water
Irish Water ( is the new national water utility responsible for providing and developing water services throughout Ireland. Incorporated in July 2013, as a semi-state company under the Water Services Act 2013, Irish Water will bring the water and wastewater services of the 31 Local Authorities together under one national service provider.

The purpose of Irish Water is to safeguard water as a precious natural resource and to deliver water services in a way that protects the environment and meets the needs of all citizens and industry now and in the future.
Irish Water will be accountable to two regulatory bodies – the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) who is the economic regulator for the water industry, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who is the environmental regulator.

Irish Water is a registered subsidiary company of Ervia (

Note to Editors:

European Court Of Justice Infringement Proceedings
In addition to these pressing issues identified by EPA, the EU has taken proceedings against Ireland for failures to implement in full the 1991 Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive. This currently references 71 Urban Agglomerations, many of which include schemes listed above. This increases to 86 separate schemes when further breaches identified in reports under Article 17 of the Directive to the EU in 2014 are included. The full resolution of all of these issues will have to be delivered within 5/6 years at most, if Ireland is to escape heavy fines being imposed by the EU Court of Justice.

Projects being implemented by Irish Water in 2014
Irish Water has taken on a number of substantial wastewater projects for implementation during 2014 which when completed will provide major environmental benefits through a combination of increased capacity and higher standards of effluent. These projects include:

  • Two major projects on the River Liffey at Osberstown (Naas, Newbridge, Kilcullen & Slane) and at Leixlip, both major schemes serving well over 100,000 population equivalent each
  • Mutton Island works serving Galway is being upgraded, while operating costs are reduced by €100K per month under the contract
  • Swords WWTW is being upgraded for completion in late 2015, the expansion being a condition for permitting new housing and other development in the catchment
  • Clonakilty WWTW is being upgraded using the innovative ‘Nerada’ technology to meet new standards and resolve odour issues in the plant, to be completed in 2015
  • Works have been commenced to resolve chronic odour and effluent quality issues at Shannon Town WWTW. Emergency process upgrades have been completed, network and pumping station works are in progress and works upgrades are to be tendered in early 2015. This approach will resolve the issues at this site for some €3M, compared to a planned new scheme for €15M
  • Waterford Towns Scheme has been commenced on site and will resolve untreated discharges at Dunmore East and Ardmore, upgrade very inadequate septic tanks at Cappoquin and a number of smaller centres. Lismore WWTW is also being upgraded
  • Clifden Treatment plant is under construction as is the Carrigtwohill plant upgrade
  • Advance works are being carried out to improve treatment resilience at Dublin Ringsend, while design work has commenced on the major upgrade of these works to 2.1M PE
  • Projects which have been brought through procurement up to approval of contract for immediate commencement in 2015 include Bundoran/Killybegs & Youghal, where some statutory processes are being finalised. Meanwhile, a major public engagement process has been held in Arklow on site options for a sustainable solution for the town’s wastewater discharge.


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