A new report from the EPA has highlighted eight areas of Co. Donegal where raw sewage is being discharged into the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency has warned that untreated waste water is putting public health at risk and is having an impact on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.
The affected areas in Donegal are: Burtonport, Coolatee Housing Scheme, Falcarragh, Kerrykeel, Kilcar, Moville, Ramelton and Rathmullan.
Though there have been some improvements, the EPA report on Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2017 says Ireland is not investing quickly enough to provide the infrastructure needed to treat our waste water.
The report said that deficiencies exist in many treatment plants and public sewers, due to a legacy of underinvestment, and waste water is still entering the environment without receiving sufficient treatment.
The report identifies nineteen urban areas in Donegal where improvements are needed to resolve environmental priorities.
These are: Ballintra Ballybofey-Stranorlar Bridgend Burnfoot Burtonport Carndonagh – Malin Convoy Coolatee Falcarragh Kerrykeel Kilcar Kilmacrennan Lifford Milford Moville Ramelton Raphoe Rathmullan Termon
Irish Water was fined €7,054 for breaches of waste water discharge authorisations in Rathmullan.
Untreated waste water was found to be discharged in the area, and Irish Water was sanctioned for failing to provide treatment plants and treating waste water appropriately before releasing it back into the environment.
The water utility company has also been instructed by EPA to install waste water disinfection to safeguard shellfish in Rathmullan.
The report highlighted two improvements in Donegal, where Killybegs and Bundoran were once discharging untreated sewage but are now connected to treatment plants.
Across Ireland, the report said that raw sewage from the equivalent of 88,000 people in 38 towns and villages flows into the environment every day.
“Untreated waste water, commonly referred to as raw sewage, can be contaminated with harmful bacteria and viruses. It can pose a health risk to people who come into contact with infected water, and can threaten aquatic ecosystems and the amenity value of our waters,” according to the report.
Commenting on the report Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said:
“Ireland is not addressing the deficiencies in its waste water treatment infrastructure at a fast-enough pace. It is unacceptable that, 13 years after the final deadline to comply with treatment standards, there are still 28 large towns and cities discharging inadequately treated sewage that fails to meet these standards. This is putting our health at risk and is having an impact on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.”Tags: