Cllr David Healy says EPA must prosecute Irish Water for licence breach
Wednesday 15th April 2015, Dublin.
Howth/Malahide Green Party Councillor David Healy has today called on the EPA to prosecute Irish Water for the ongoing sewage discharge into Doldrum Bay, Howth.
The discharge licence given to the Ringsend treatment plant in 2010 required that the Doldrum Bay discharge be ended by December 2011. However, Irish Water now says that it wants the licence reviewed to allow the discharge to continue.
This discharge from a small residential area flows straight onto the small beach on the south side of Howth. Local people have put up a fence to warn walkers and swimmers.
Cllr Healy commented: “The EPA have failed for 4 years to enforce the condition of the licence. It is particularly shocking that Irish Water now wants to deal with the situation by removing the licence condition requiring it to stop discharging sewage onto the beach.
“The Government have repeatedly assured the public that Irish Water is needed to guarantee investment in prevention of water pollution, but in this instance they are clearly attempting to circumvent their responsibilities. The harsh reality seems to be that Irish Water is looking to save money by getting permission to pollute our beaches. I’m calling on the EPA to immediately move to prosecute Irish Water for this ongoing breach of its licence.”
This is a longstanding discharge from a population of about 100 people on the south side of Howth. Location: 53.364089, -6.070370. The pipe discharges directly onto the stony beach.
When the Ringsend sewage treatment plant received its discharge licence in July 2010 one of the conditions was that the Doldrum Bay untreated outfall be ended by 31st December 2011. (Licence D0034/01 http://www.epa.ie/licences/lic_eDMS/090151b280382dc0.pdf Condition 3 / Schedule A.3)
Fingal County Council sought funding from the Department of the Environment to end the discharge but no funding was allocated.
However, Irish Water have now decided to try to leave the discharge. In their Annual Environmental Report (AER) for 2014, submitted to the EPA last month, they acknowledge they have done nothing to comply with the licence condition and say:
“IW are seeking that the Doldrum bay discharge is to be considered as a secondary discharge within the Ringsend agglomeration discharging to coastal waters (not sensitive waters) with a greater than 70% reduction in BOD, IW will prepare and present a case to the EPA in this regard as part of a license review.”
For comparison, the previous AER, submitted by Dublin City Council in early 2014 said:
“The discharge into Doldrum Bay, secondary discharge point S4 Fingal, has not ceased and did not cease by 31st December 2011. Funding for the construction of the scheme,estimated at €1.5m, was not included in the Water Services Investment Programme (WSIP) 2010-2012. However, it was approved to move to planning stage under the Portmarnock Drainage Scheme in the 2010-2012 WSIP.
“Fingal County Council retained Consultants to investigate options for halting the discharge. The preferred option was two small pumping stations to transfer the effluent ultimately to Ringsend WWTP. An Options Review Report was submitted to the DoEHLG in Aug 2012. It was rejected by the DoEHLG in August 2013.
“A Business Case has been made to Irish Water to proceed with the preferred Option.”