Certificate of Authorisation Process Explained

An application for a waste water discharge (WWD) certificate of authorisation (or review of a certificate)  must satisfy legislative requirements, largely set out in the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 as amended.

An application for a WWD certificate must be made on the specified  application form in accordance with the guidance notes.

It should be noted that the process regarding the application for WWD licence  (or the review of) a WWD licence is different.  See Licensing Process Explained

The certificate application process involves a number of stages as outlined below:

Stage 1 – Pre-Application

The EPA facilitates pre-application consultation meetings with prospective applicants.  Such meetings are held on request.

The content of the notices is set out in the Regulations.

Stage 2 – Application for a Certificate of Authorisation

This stage includes EPA assessment of the application.

In making an application, make sure to:

Use the specific application form and answer all questions (guidance notes are available)

Attach all necessary supporting documentation (including fee)

We may request further information in accordance with the regulations.

Once we have acknowledged the application as complete, the Agency must make a make a decision on the application within four months. 

Stage 3 – Decision

The EPA, in arriving at its decision, considers the application and the report of its inspector.

The EPA is required to make a decision on an application within a period of 4 months from the date of receipt of a full application, however this period may be extended in certain circumstances.

The EPA notifies the applicant of the decision on the application, and makes it available for public inspection on its website.

Once a decision has issued, a Water Services Authority can apply to the High Court and seek a Judicial Review of the validity of the Decision. Please see Stage 4 below.

Stage 4 - Amendment of an existing certificate

The Agency may amend a licence or certificate or revised licence or revised certificate for the purposes of -

  1. correcting any clercial error therein,
  2. facilitating the doing of any thing pursuant to a condition attached to the licence or certificate where the doing of that thing may reasonably be regarded as having been contemplated by the terms of the condition or the terms of the licence or certificate taken as a whole but which was not expressly provided for in the condition, or
  3. otherwise facilitating the operation of the licence or certificate where the making of the amendment does not result in the relevant environmental requirements ceasing to be satisfied.

Judicial Review Notice

Judicial Review of Environmental Protection Agency decisions under the provisions of the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 as amended
A person wishing to challenge the validity of an EPA decision may do so by way of judicial review only. The validity of a decision taken by the EPA may only be questioned by making an application for Judicial Review under Order 84 of the Rules of the Superior Courts (as amended). The Rules of the Superior Courts and all relevant amendments can be found at www.courts.ie or www.irishstatutebook.ie  

Regulation 34 of the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007 as amended provides that any application for judicial review must be made within twenty eight days of the date on which the EPA issues either (1) the authorisation or (2) notification of a decision not to consider an application or to refuse. 

Further information on Judicial Review in environmental and planning matters may be found at www.citizensinformation.ie (see http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/environment/environmental_law/judicial_review_in_planning_and_environmental_matters.html
Disclaimer:  The above is intended for information purposes. It does not purport to be a legal interpretation of the relevant provisions and it would be advisable for persons contemplating judicial review proceedings to seek independent legal advice.

Learn More

Download the WWD Certificate of Authorisation application form and guidance note

For further information contact the 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