Certificate of authorisation process explained 

n application for a waste water discharge (WWD) certificate of authorisation (or review of a certificate) must satisfy legislative requirements, largely set out in the European Union (Waste Water Discharge) Regulations 2007 to 2020.  

An application for a WWD certificate of authorisation must be made on the specified application formin 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 of authorisation application process involves a number of stages as outlined below:

Stage 1 – Pre-application

When required, the EPA engages in pre-application meetings with the applicant, Irish Water, prior to applications being submitted. Such meetings are held on request.

The details to be contained in pre-application notices are 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 EPA must 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 four months from the date of receipt of a full application. However, this period may be extended in certain circumstances.

Please be advised:

  • Where an application is made in respect of a waste water discharge that involves development or proposed development for which a grant of permission is required but the applicant does not comply with Regulation 24A(1), the EPA shall refuse to consider the application.
  • Where the Planning Authority/An Bord Pleanála have required EIA, the EPA will not make a decision on the application for a certificate of authorisation and will require the applicant to submit to the EPA an application for a licence in accordance with Part IV of the European Union (Waste Water Discharge) Regulations 2007 to 2020 which shall be accompanied by an EIAR.

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

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

Stage 4 - Amendment of an existing certificate

The EPA may amend a licence or certificate or revised licence or revised certificate, in accordance with guidance as set out in the EPA Guidance for Irish Water on Requests for Alterations to a Waste Water Discharge Licence or Certificate of Authorisation and for the purposes of:

  1. Correcting any clerical error in the licence or certificate
  2. Facilitating the doing of anything 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 amendment does not result in the relevant environmental requirements ceasing to be satisfied

Judicial Review Notice

Judicial Review of EPA decisions under the provisions of the European Union (Waste Water Discharge) Regulations 2007 to 2020

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 European Union (Waste Water Discharge) Regulations 2007 to 2020 provides that any application for judicial review must be made within 28 days of the date on which the EPA issues either (1) the authorisation or (2) notification of a decision not to consider or to refuse an application. 

Further information on Judicial Review in environmental and planning matters may be found at www.citizensinformation.ie

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
Co Wexford

Tel: 053 9160600
Lo-call: 1890 335599

Fax: 053 9160699
Email: licensing@epa.ie