Waste Water Discharge Authorisation

A system for the licensing or certification of waste water discharges (WWD) from areas served by Local Authority sewer networks was brought into effect by Mr John Gormley, Minster for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government on 27th September 2007.   The licensing and certification authorisation process was introduced on a phased basis commencing on 14th December 2007 in accordance with the requirements of  the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 as amended.


AIM of Waste Water Discharge Authorisation

The licensing and certification process gives effect to a number of EU Directives by the imposition of restrictions or prohibitions on the discharge of dangerous substances and thus preventing or reducing the pollution of waters by waste water discharges.

All discharges to the aquatic environment from sewerage systems owned, managed and operated by Water Services Authorities will require a waste water discharge licence or certificate of authorisation from the EPA. The Authorities are required to apply to the Agency for a licence or certificate of authorisation by set dates depending on the population equivalent of the area served by the sewer network 

The authorisation process provides for the Agency to place stringent conditions on the operation of such discharges to ensure that potential effects on the receiving water bodies are strictly limited and controlled. In overall terms the aim is to achieve good surface water and ground water status in addition to complying with standards and objectives established for associated protected areas by 2015 at the latest.

 Examination of Waste Water Discharge Licences – have your say


What is not subject to these regulations?

The regulations focus on discharges from areas served by Water Services Authorities sewer networks.  These regulations do not regulate:

  • Waste water treatment plants other than the actual discharge
  • Odours from waste water treatment plants including associated infrastructure (pumping stations), or
  • Noise from waste water treatment plants including associated infrastructure (pumping stations).

Public Participation

The licensing and certification processes are open and transparent and access  to the application documentation is freely available on our website.
Any person may make written submissions to the Agency in relation to an application for a licence and thus participate in the processing of a particular application. The Agency welcomes and encourages such participation.  The Agency must have due regard to all submissions received in its consideration of each licence application.  The Agency will take comments regarding any waste water discharge application or certificate of authorisation application into account.

Learn More

Find out more about:

Who to Contact

If you require additional information, contact the EPA’s Environmental Licensing Programme at:

Office of Environmental Sustainability,
PO Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate
County Wexford

Tel: Locall 1890 33 55 99  OR  053 916 0600
Fax: 053 916 0699

Email: licensing@epa.ie