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 2019' 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 as highlighted in this report

  •  19 large towns and cities where waste water treatment did not meet mandatory European Union standards set to protect the environment.
  •  35 towns and villages where untreated waste water (raw sewage) is released into the environment every day.
  •  48 areas where waste water is the main significant threat to inland and coastal waters at risk of pollution.
  •  3 beaches where waste water was one of the contributing factors to poor quality bathing waters.
  •  13 towns and villages where waste water discharges must improve to protect endangered freshwater pearl mussels.
  •   7 large urban areas where waste water collection systems (sewers) must be upgraded to meet European Union requirements.


The report also highlights the need for Irish Water to complete overdue assessments of the impacts of waste water discharges on 26 of Ireland’s designated shellfish waters.

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