The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it has repeatedly highlighted that the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant is failing to meet national and European Union treatment standards.

In a statement, the EPA said the plant is failing to meet these standards and failing to comply with the requirements of its wastewater discharge licence because the plant is not big enough to adequately treat all of the wastewater that it receives. Wastewater discharged back into the environment from this overloaded plant is breaching and will continue to breach, the quality standards until upgrade works are complete, it said.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, a senior scientist with the EPA, Noel Byrne, said the Ringsend plant is not large enough and is in breach of national and EU treatment standards. Plans are in place to expand the facility by 2023, he said. He also confirmed that an EPA inspector is being sent to the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant to assess the situation at the facility.
Irish Water has confirmed that no incidents had occurred at the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant in the last 48 hours and added that the wastewater is treated to the best possible standards currently achievable at the plant. “Factors such as low tidal levels, temperature of the receiving waters, the volume of wastewater discharged and wind strength and direction can increase the visibility of the treated effluent at the discharge point,” it said. The Irish Water statement also said that discolouration of the water at the discharge point may be visible on occasion “until upgrade works are completed as the plant is currently overloaded”. The company says that the plant treats around 40% of the country’s wastewater load, and that €400m is being invested in the staged upgrading of the Ringsend facility.

Denise Maguire
Irish Construction Industry Magazine