Investment in urban waste-water treatment is not happening at a fast enough pace and Irish Water will have to spend €1bn over the next two years to meet its commitments, TDs have been told.
The warning came from Laura Burke, director general of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), amid the threat of fines imposed by the European Commission for Ireland's failure to meet its obligations in the area.
Her remarks came at the Dáil's Public Accounts Committee in response to questions by Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane.
He asked for an update on a 2017 EPA report outlining how, among other findings, waste-water treatment did not meet mandatory standards to prevent pollution and protect health in 28 of 179 large towns around the country.
Ms Burke said there has been "no dramatic change since then". She said the EPA would still say that addressing deficiencies in waste-water treatment is "not happening at a fast enough pace".