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Summary: This report details the quality of treatment of discharges from urban wastewater treatment plants in Ireland in 2004 and 2005.
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This report provides an analysis of the treatment of waste water for all agglomerations (mainly cities, towns and villages) with a population equivalent over 500 during 2004 and 2005, the quality of discharges from waste water treatment plants and commentary on trends for the period 1998 to 2005. The report is based on information supplied by local authorities on an annual basis.
The report includes a county-by-county analysis of the performance of secondary waste water treatment plants covering their compliance against the Urban Waste Water Regulations, 2001.
The main findings of the report are:
The overall level of treatment provided at 478 agglomerations, which collectively represent a total population equivalent (p.e.) of 5,627,456, was as follows:
There have been delays in providing the required treatment plants at a number of locations throughout the country. Of the 158 agglomerations requiring secondary treatment or higher by 31st December 2005, the required level of treatment was not in place at 30 of these agglomerations.
Large agglomerations which were required to have secondary treatment by 31st December 2000 but as yet has not been provided are: Bray, Howth/Baldoyle/Portmarnock (Partial), Balbriggan, Killybegs, Shangannagh, Sligo Town, Tramore, and Waterford City.
The largest untreated discharge to a sensitive area is from Killybegs (Co. Donegal) with an estimated population equivalent of 400,000 p.e. Secondary waste water treatment plants are now operational in the cities of Cork, Limerick and Galway and these plants are meeting the effluent quality standards set out in the Regulations.
Compliance with discharge limits for the very large plants (i.e. >15,000 p.e.) has improved; however the majority of smaller treatment plants are not complying with these limits. The compliance rates based on monitoring results are summarised below.
Local authorities failed to take the required number of samples at 38% of waste water treatments plants with a population equivalent of 2,000 p.e. or over and where samples were taken, 43% of these were taken incorrectly.
121,750 tonnes of dried sludge was produced nationally by wastewater treatment plants in the period. 76% of this went to agriculture and 17% went to landfill.
75 waste water treatment plants were inspected by the EPA between 2004 and 2006. Recurring problems identified at waste water treatment plants visited during audits, which are in need of corrective action, include:
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In order to achieve compliance with the requirements of the Regulations and secure improvements in the quality of effluents from urban waste water treatment plants the EPA makes the following recommendations.
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