Clare communities see the benefits from Highest ever annual investment in wastewater treatment by Irish Water

  • €367m invested in wastewater infrastructure in 2021, highest level to date
  • 60% of raw sewage discharges have been eliminated
  • 93% compliance with Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive
  • Impact of urban wastewater on receiving water continues to reduce

*Facts above as of end 2021

Thursday, 20 October 2022 – Communities across Ireland continue to benefit from Irish Water’s progress in improving wastewater treatment, resulting in a cleaner environment, enhanced water quality and greater capacity to support growth and development.

The latest EPA Urban Wastewater Treatment Report for 2021 recognises the ongoing progress being made by Irish Water in upgrading Ireland’s public wastewater infrastructure while also highlighting the need for continued investment in our essential wastewater services. 

Since 2014 when Irish Water assumed responsibility for public water services, 60% of raw sewage discharges by volume have been eliminated through targeted investment in new sewerage infrastructure where none existed previously, and we are on target to eliminate nearly all of the remainder by 2025. 

In Co. Clare investment in wastewater infrastructure in Shannon and Quin has led to improvements in water quality, while also supporting housing and economic development in these areas.

Irish Water is on track to end the discharge of raw sewage in Co Clare with new infrastructure in Clarecastle, Kilrush, Kilfenora, Clareabbey, and Liscannor. Plans are also progressing for projects in Ballyvaughan, Newmarket on Fergus, Kilkee, Clareabbey, Clonroadmore, and Lahinch-Ennistymon

Irish Water’s targeted programme of investment in existing wastewater infrastructure is also reaping benefits for communities around the country. The building of new treatment plants and upgrading of existing ones has led to continued improvements in the quality of receiving waters. Compliance rates with the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive remain strong at 93% of plants – up from just 81% in 2015. 

As a result of this progress, the impact of urban wastewater on catchment waters has continued to reduce. In the first River Basin Management Plan, prior to the establishment of Irish Water, urban wastewater was identified as the second most dominant pressure on receiving waters; this has now reduced to the fourth and we expect that, by 2027, urban wastewater will be down to seventh, which demonstrates our commitment to improve overall water quality in Ireland’s rivers, lakes and seas. This reflects the significant progress being made by Irish Water in upgrading wastewater infrastructure and optimising operations at wastewater treatment plants.

Regional Operations Manager for Irish Water, Ian O’Mahony added, “The scale of delivery of this critical infrastructure is unprecedented: last year we invested €367 million in Ireland’s wastewater – the highest ever in a single year – and we are on track to increase that further over the coming years as we strive to deliver best in class wastewater services and infrastructure for Ireland now and in the future.”