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Irish Water clarifies Clonakilty treatment position

October 16th, 2016 7:24 AM

By Siobhan Cronin

Pupils from Scoil na mBuachaillí in Clonakilty visiting the Waste Water Treatment Plant at Clonakilty which recently won a major award for engineering. (Photo: Billy macGill)

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IRISH Water has clarified a situation which saw Clonakilty on a blacklist of towns needing an upgrade to their water treatment plants.

Last week the European Commission named 38 locations – including the West Cork town – around the country which, it said, were in breach of EU directives on waste water treatment.

Under EU law, towns and cities are required to collect and treat their urban waste water, as untreated waste water can put human health at risk and pollute lakes, rivers, soil and coastal and groundwater.

Member States had until the end of 1998 to ensure stringent treatment for waste water discharging into sensitive areas. 

And they had until the end of 2000 to ensure appropriate collecting systems and treatment were in place for discharges from treatment plants serving large areas discharging into undesignated waters.

The last deadline elapsed at the end of 2005 and required the setting-up of collecting systems and treatment for discharges from medium-sized and small towns discharging into freshwater and estuaries. If Ireland fails to act within two months on the 38 locations, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU, it said.

It said Clonakilty was among those which didn’t meet the requirements. However, Irish Water clarified the situation to The Southern Star, pointing out that Clonakilty has, indeed, an award-winning treatment plant in operation in the town.

‘With regards Clonakilty,’ a statement said, ‘the wastewater treatment plant upgrade was commissioned in May 2015. 

‘The regulations require 12 months of verified sampling information, post commissioning, to prove compliance. EPA will verify all compliance data for 2016 early in 2017. We expect to confirm full compliance for the wastewater treatment plant.’

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