Ireland’s Daily 3 Olympic-Sized Sewage Pools: EPA’s Alarming Findings

olympic size sewer

Improving Water Treatment Standards

The Severity of the Issue

It has been reported that three Olympic-sized swimming pools worth of raw, untreated sewage is discharged into Irish waters on a daily basis. Unfortunately, this is not the only issue at hand. A recent annual report by the EPA has highlighted that 26 towns and villages are impacted by daily raw sewage discharges, and that EU waste water treatments are not being met in 15 towns and cities, including major urban centers such as Dublin and Cork. As a result, these 15 discharging areas are contributing to over half of Irish Water sewage, meaning that standards are not being met where they are most crucial.

The Need for Action

The EPA has emphasized that significant investment is necessary to bring water treatment standards up to acceptable levels, estimating that the task will take billions of euro and over two decades to complete. Uisce Éireann, the national water utility, has been tasked with minimizing pollution from wastewater discharges under its new investment plan, which is currently being developed. This is critical, as the EPA highlighted Uisce Éireann’s lack of clear plans to prevent pollution in many of the areas most affected by raw sewage discharges. In fact, some of the most-requested pollution prevention plans are currently facing appeals and judicial reviews, which significantly delay their implementation.

Improvements Expected in the Short-Term

Michael Tinsley, an executive at Uisce Éireann, expects significant improvements to be made in the next decade, including those that address wastewater pollution. In his interview with Newstalk, Tinsley attributed this progress to the expected passage of the new Planning Bill that is currently going before the Oireachtas. This Bill, along with growth that is sustainable year-over-year, will help drive progress toward meeting water treatment standards and addressing the most pressing challenges where raw sewage discharges are concerned. While many challenges lie ahead, the hope is that Ireland will overcome them to improve water treatment standards and make its water resources cleaner, safer, and more accessible to its citizens and visitors alike.

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