Freshwater - National Responses (Ireland)
Urban Waste Water Treatment
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Significant investment has gone into improving the water services infrastructure (for drinking water and urban wastewater), with over €4.6 billion invested over the last decade.
This has resulted in a dramatic improvement in the level of treatment of urban wastewater. 92 per cent of urban wastewaters now receive at least secondary treatment compared to 25 per cent at the start of 2000. In addition, a system for EPA licensing or certification of wastewater discharges from areas served by local authority sewer networks was brought into effect in September 2007. This aims to reduce the input of nutrients and other dangerous substances to receiving waters.
This investment has also resulted in increased treatment capacity for drinking water by a level equivalent to the needs of a population of 855,000 and storage capacity has increased by a level equivalent to the needs of a population of 1,510,000.
In 2009 the EPA revised its code of practice establishing a framework of best practice in relation to the development of wastewater treatment and disposal systems in unsewered rural areas.
The implementation and enforcement of the Nitrates Action Plan under the EU Nitrates Directive is the most important measure to address diffuse agricultural pollution of freshwaters.
In line with elsewhere in Europe a series of river basin management plans has been developed under the Water Framework Directive. The challenge for water resources management in Ireland will be the successful development and rollout of effective programmes of measures.