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€1 billion waste water investment needed to avoid EU fines – Ó Broin

23 March, 2017 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD


Sinn Féin spokesperson on water Eoin Ó Broin TD has said that Government “must invest €1bn in substandard waste water plants to avoid EU fines”. The cost was confirmed in a PQ response to Deputy Ó Broin this week confirming that, due to Government neglect, €1 billion worth of investment is now required to bring the plants up to scratch in the 38 agglomerations across the State that are deemed to be in breach of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Minister Simon Coveney has this week confirmed that at least €1bn is required to avoid EU fines in our waste water treatment plants. This is the legacy of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael underinvestment in our waste water treatment infrastructure. 

“This figure was confirmed in response to a parliamentary question this week According to the Department of Housing, Irish Water estimate that investment of €1bn in waste water treatment plants is necessary to ensure adequate treatment of waste water from the 38 urban areas currently in breach of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive which has landed this state in the European Court of Justice. 

“This is just the level of investment needed to address the specific failures of the plants in these 38 areas with ‘further significant investment is required to ensure ongoing compliance in all agglomerations’.

“The Ministers who have had responsibility for this brief in recent years have all failed miserably. Since 2012, Minister’s Hogan, Kelly, and now, Minister Coveney have neglected to invest in our water infrastructure and now we will have to pay the price.

“Their obsession with introducing domestic water charges and a metering regime was severely misguided. Especially when you take into account that the €500m wasted on domestic water meters could have covered half of the investment needed and may have saved this State a visit to the European Court. 

“Minister Coveney must now urgently outline how he plans to fast- track investment in the waste water treatment plants currently in breach of the Urban Waste Water Directive. He must provide a timeline for the upgrade of these plants and state how he will ensure that they are compliant with the Urban waste water treatment directive in an effort the mitigate the EU Commission enforcement proceedings currently underway.” 

Note: Please see the PQ in question below

QUESTION NO: 432

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Simon Coveney)

by Deputy Eoin Ó Broin

for WRITTEN ANSWER on 21/03/2017

To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government the estimated amount it would cost to adequately upgrade the infrastructure in the wastewater plants in the 38 agglomerations across the State that are deemed to be in breach of the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.

REPLY.

The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive mandates the required standards for the collection and treatment of waste water from urban areas and sets various deadlines for meeting these standards. All requirements of the Directive should have been met by the end of 2005 at the latest. As such, achieving compliance with the requirements of this Directive is a long standing issue.

With regard to the 38 agglomerations identified in the current EU infringement process, Irish Water estimate that investment of €1bn in waste water treatment plants is necessary to ensure adequate treatment of waste water from these urban areas. 

It must be emphasised that this is the level of investment necessary to address specific failures with regard to appropriate treatment of waste water in the 38 agglomerations. Further significant investment is required to ensure ongoing compliance in all agglomerations, facilitate ongoing capital maintenance and upgrade needs, ensure the proper functioning of waste water collection systems, and provide for adequate treatment capacity to facilitate future population and economic growth.

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