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Ringsend fails to meet waste water standards

A REPORT by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that the Ringsend water treatment plant is failing to meet standards, and raw waste is entering the sea at Rush.

The report by the agency also said that the Tolka River was “moderately polluted” while the Liffey was classified as “slightly” polluted.

Released yesterday, the report into standards over 2013 showed that “significant improvement” was needed in the infrastructure and management of waste water.

There was a dramatic drop in compliance of the national waste water load with the chemical measurements used to determine the effectiveness of waste water plants down from 92pc to 53pc.

This was due mainly to the treatment plant in Ringsend, which is Ireland’s largest treatment plant and serves a population of more than 1.7 million.

Malahide’s plant also failed the EPA’s tests.


Gerard O’Leary, director of the agency’s office of environmental enforcement, said that there were 38 urban centres across the country that failed to meet the required standards.

It placed “the health of people and the environment at risk”, he added.

“The reasons for the failures range from, in some instances a complete absence of infrastructure to treat sewage, in others, inadequate infrastructure, and in further instances, poor management and operation of infrastructure,” Mr O’Leary said.

Ireland adopted the European Directive on urban waste-water treatment 20 years ago. The roadmap laid out in this was intended to protect the environment from the adverse effects of sewage. The EPA waste water report said €2bn funding  was needed to bring our infrastructure up to code.

Elizabeth Arnett, of Irish Water, said the report illustrated the need to leverage money to pay for work, as “the taxation model” would not have raised the sums needed.