Waste water discharge authorisation process 

All discharges to the aquatic environment from sewerage systems owned, managed and operated by Irish Water require a waste water discharge licence or certificate of authorisation from the EPAIrish Wateris required to apply to the EPA for a licence or certificate of authorisationfor all agglomerations.

The authorisation process provides for the EPA 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 in accordance with relevant legislation including the Water Framework Directive.

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

Public participation 

The licensing and certification processes are open and transparent and access to the application documentation is freely available on our website.

Anyone may make written submissions to the EPA in relation to an application for a licence and thus participate in the processing of a particular application. The EPA welcomes and encourages such participation. The EPA must have due regard to all submissions received in its consideration of each licence application. The EPA will take comments regarding any waste water discharge licence application or certificate of authorisation application into account.

What is not covered by the regulations? 

The regulations focus on discharges from areas served by Irish Water 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 (e.g. pumping stations) 
  • Noise from waste water treatment plants including associated infrastructure (e.g. pumping stations) 

Who to contact 

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

Environmental Licensing Programme 

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

Tel: 053 916 0600 

Lo-call 1890 33 55 99 
Fax: 053 916 0699 

Email: licensing@epa.ie