A damning report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlighted three areas in Louth where there are major sewage problems.
he national report described 34 towns and villages across the country where raw sewage was discharged directly into the local environment every day over the past year due to the lack of a sewage treatment plant.
This included Omeath in north Louth, which is expected to continue discharging sewage until 2023, when it is hoped that a planned new treatment plant serving a population of 1,600 will be operational.
Dundalk and Dunleer were also highlighted as areas where improvements are needed to prevent sewage from damaging rivers, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters.
The EPA has criticized what has been described as slow progress, saying it could be up to two decades before many of these sewage problems are corrected.
Irish Water responded to the EPA’s latest report, stating that “continued progress in improving wastewater treatment and eliminating raw sewage discharges into rivers, lakes and coastal areas of Ireland ”are in progress.
“Over the past six years Irish Water has prioritized areas where it can support housing and development and have the greatest environmental impact, especially in places where raw sewage flows into our rivers and seas” said Michael Tinley, Irish Water.
“In Louth, Irish Water is making progress on its plan to end the discharge of raw wastewater with the construction of a new wastewater treatment plant in Omeath. Irish Water recently signed a contract with Veolia Water Ireland Limited to complete this essential project and work is expected to start in the coming weeks. Irish Water is also modernizing the existing wastewater network at Omeath. “
He added: “This project will be carried out as part of the Shared Waters Enhancement & Loughs Legacy (SWELL) project, a € 35 million EU-funded project that aims to improve water quality in Carlingford Lough. and Lough Foyle through the sewage upgrade. active on both sides of the border.
The spokesperson said progress was also being made at the Dundalk wastewater treatment plant, where upgrades to the sludge treatment infrastructure address maintenance and health and safety issues.
“Irish Water is also carrying out an extensive program of modernization works at the Drogheda wastewater treatment plant. Work already completed includes: modernization of the odor control unit; work on three primary settling tanks and two aeration tanks and the installation of additional temporary treatment at East Meath. pumping station that transports wastewater to the plant to reduce the potential for septicity of the wastewater.
He added: “Having a modern, sustainable and functional sanitation network is essential to protect our environment and support housing and economic growth in the years to come. Irish Water works closely with the EPA and our other partners, including local authorities, to ensure that this can be delivered in the most efficient and sustainable manner through the use of cutting edge technology, scientific and technical expertise and significant engagement with local communities around Ireland.
“There is no doubt that challenges remain. Much of the infrastructure for the safe collection and treatment of wastewater across the country has suffered from decades of underinvestment. But Irish Water has a plan in place to address these shortcomings and we are making real progress. Continued investments will be needed in the years to come to build a modern and fit for purpose sanitation network, but we are confident that we are on the right track to achieve this goal.