Raw sewage flowing into sea at four places
Raw sewage is being pumped into the sea at four coastal locations in Co. Wexford, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
An urban waste water report compiled by the EPA shows that sewage is being discharged with no treatment whatsoever at Arthurstown, Ballyhack, Kilmore Quay and Duncannon.
Meanwhile, Gorey and Courtown are among larger population areas nationally that have secondary treatment plants but did not comply with EU water quality standards during sampling carried out by inspectors.
The report published last week is based on data compiled in 2012 and reveals that 42 towns and villages in Ireland are discharging untreated sewage into rivers and coastal waters.
The EPA has called for greater investment in infrastructure to protect rivers and beaches and the economic activities that depend on clean water.
Among the Co. Wexford areas that have only primary treatment for sewage (secondary is the minimum standard required) are Ballycanew, Camolin, Campile and Fethard-on-Sea.
In these areas, partly treated water is being discharged into the sea and rivers.
Duncannon, Arthurstown, Ballyhack and Kilmore Quay have no treatment plants. Apart from Gorey and Courtown, a number of other Wexford areas which do have secondary treatment plants, failed water quality tests including Bridgetown, Kilagoley (Enniscorthy), Ferns, Kilmuckridge, Rosslare Strand and Taghmon.
On the bright side, according to the EPA report, 94% of Ireland's urban waste water now gets secondary treatment, three times more than a decade ago.