Urban Waste Water Treatment

The objective of waste water treatment is to collect the waste water generated within our communities, remove the polluting material, and then release the treated water safely back into the environment.  Without such treatment, the waste water we produce would pollute our waters and create a health risk.     

EPA Reports

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produces annual reports on the treatment of urban waste water from our cities, towns and urban communities.    

The latest report 'Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2016' identifies the priority areas where resources must be targeted, to protect our environment from the harmful effects of waste water, and deliver environmental improvements where they are most needed.    

Priorities to be resolved

  • 50 of our 185 large towns and cities where waste water treatment did not meet European Union standards set to prevent pollution and protect public health.
  • 44 areas discharging untreated waste water, or raw sewage.
  • 59 areas where waste water is the sole threat to rivers, lakes and coastal waters at risk of not meeting the Water Framework Directive's requirement to achieve good status. 
  • 4 areas where urban waste water contributes to poor quality bathing waters.
  • 12 areas needing improvements in waste water treatment to protect endangered freshwater pearl mussels.
  • 3 areas requiring waste water disinfection to safeguiard shellfish habitats.

Ireland requires substantial and sustained investment in waste water treatment infrastructure to resolve these priorities.