Hot spots for tourism shamed on sewage list
Published 16/02/2012 | 05:00
DOZENS of popular tourist and fishing spots have been named and shamed because of sewage that has not been treated properly in badly run plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday warned that waters in as many as 42 coastal towns were not meeting national and EU standards because of failing local authority treatment plants. These included popular tourist spots Clifden in Galway and Skibbereen in Cork.
And nearly half of all wastewater treatment plants serving large urban areas are failing to achieve the standards, despite years of multi-million euro investment in new facilities.
The disclosure has implications for tap water safety, as almost 70pc of our drinking water supply is extracted from groundwater into which the wastewater is discharged.
It also means that the cash-strapped taxpayer will have to find additional money over the coming years to invest in new plants so we meet EU targets and avoid fines.
The report is the first review of the operation of wastewater treatment plants at 529 urban areas since they became subject to a new licensing regime being rolled out by the EPA.
EPA spokesman Gerard O'Leary said: "This level of performance is poor and needs to improve."