PRIVATE TREATMENT: Are private wastewater works more polluting than public plants?
3 Backers raised €61 of €1210

Raw, untreated sewage is released into the environment from 35 Irish towns and villages across the country, according to the latest Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data.

In 2019, 19 large urban areas - producing more than half of Ireland’s sewage - had wastewater treatment plants that failed to meet EU standards.

Irish Water issues licenses to local authorities or private companies to run wastewater treatment plants on its behalf, but results vary between different plants.

The EPA said that 34 of the long-term unresolved incidents that were either ongoing or likely to recur at the end of 2019 could be fixed by improving how treatment plants are run.


We want to find out how many privately-run wastewater treatment plants are in operation around Ireland and whether they are up to scratch.

Using press queries and Access to Information on the Environment requests, we want to compare the performance of privately-operated wastewater treatment plants with those run by local authorities and Irish Water.

We also want to investigate whether a lack of public funds, engineering issues or other factors are behind this ongoing and nationwide problem - and what can be done to make it better.

Have you any information that you think would help this investigation or would like to tell us your story, contact us at [email protected]

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