Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams has called for urgent action from the government to “end the environmental and health threat that faces thousands of citizens in Louth at risk from the discharge of raw sewage and the non-compliance of EU regulations in the treatment of urban waste water”.
Teachta Adams said:
“The recently published Urban Waste Water Treatment in 2017 report by the Environmental Protection Agency makes depressing reading.
The government and Irish Water are failing to meet their commitments on investment in water treatment. 13 years after the final deadline to meet treatment standards there are still 28 towns and cities in this state, one of which is Omeath, discharging inadequately treated sewage. The EPA warned that this is “putting our health at risk and is having an impact on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.” This amounts to raw sewage from the equivalent of 88,000 people in 38 towns and villages flowing into the environment.
According to the EPA report there are 132 urban areas where improvements are needed to resolve environmental priorities. Seven of these are in Louth at Ardee, Blackrock, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, Dunleer, Omeath and Tallanstown.
In addition, there are 28 large urban areas that have failed to meet the EU’s legally binding standards for the treatment of urban waste water. Ardee and Blackrock failed the secondary treatment requirements, while Dundalk failed the more stringent treatment requirements.
The EPA also identified 57 areas across the state where waste water discharges are the sole significant pressure on water bodies at risk of pollution and not meeting their environmental objectives. Five such areas are impacted in Louth. These are Inner Dundalk Bay, Gldye, Castletown Estuary, White at Dunleer and the Glyde at Tallanstown.
The fact is that the government’s short and long term strategies for providing a safe environment and clean water is failing to deliver for many citizens.
More resources are urgently needed to target those areas which are currently not meeting basic environmental standards.
Progress requires increased investment in and delivery of major capital infrastructure. There also needs to be a substantial improvement in how the existing treatment systems are managed and maintained. This is a government that must do better for the people of Louth and of the state.”