EC takes Ireland to Court for inadequate waste water treatment

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Water body near Longford in Ireland, one of the 38 agglomerations that do not comply to the EU law. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The European Commission (EC) is taking Ireland to the EU Court of Justice for its failure to treat urban waste water. According to the European Commission 38 agglomerations across the country fail to collect and treat wastewater to prevent serious risks to human health and the environment.

The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive of the European Union requires towns and cities to collect and treat their urban waste water. In a press release on the website the European Commission stated Ireland has been officialy warned for not complying to the law since September 2013. If Ireland is found to be at fault by the Court of Justice of the EU, it will be issued with a further warning to comply with the law or risk a second case being brought, which may result in a fine.

Investments
According to a European Commission report on the implementation of EU environmental policy and law in Member States, one of the main challenges Ireland faces is maintaining the important investments required for water services, given the urgent need to invest in water infrastructure. The Irish Environmental Protection Agency confirms on their website that substantial and sustained capital investment is required to deliver improved water infrastructure in Ireland.

Water charges
Ireland is facing serious problems since water charges have been introduced by the public-private company Irish Water. Irish people refuse to pay their water bills and the issue is now being considered by an Oireachtas committee. Irish Water has identified key projects in order to address all non-compliances by 2021. They state the investment programme for these specific waste water treatment plants will exceed 1 billion euros.

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