River pollution in Clonaslee, Co Laois
Water quality monitoring equipment which are critical during storms to prevent pollution and protect human health and the environment does not exist in 10 Laois waste water treatment plants but Irish Water says it is to invest over €20,000 in such systems.
The State water company confirmed that its Laois Flow Monitoring and Sampling programme is already underway. It said that once the design phase is complete, flow measurement devices, storm event recorders and sampling equipment will be installed at approximately 10 wastewater treatment plants across Laois.
It added that this project will also ensure compliance with EPA Wastewater Discharge Authorisations with respect to monitoring and sampling requirements.
The project will also allow Irish Water to identify where investment is needed in the wastewater infrastructure to facilitate future development in the county’s towns and villages.
Iirish Water said the investment makes critical wastewater flow and load data available on a consistent basis for the first time ever, helping to improve the performance of the treatment plants while also helping protect the waterways into which treated wastewater is discharged.
The company added that when it is completed, plant operators and engineers will have the data and tools to enable them to better manage the treatment processes, measure performance and react quicker to any sudden changes such as a storm event," he said.
This project is being rolled out under a national flow monitoring and sampling programme where approximately €10m is being invested across 400 wastewater treatment plants of varying sizes to comply with EPA licence requirements.
Peter Flood, Irish Water’s Capital Programmes Regional Lead, said: “Protecting Ireland’s waterways and coastal areas is a key priority for Irish Water. Currently we collect wastewater from over 1,000 separate communities connected to the wastewater network and treat around 1.6 billion litres of wastewater daily before safely discharging it back into our rivers, harbours and coastal areas. This project will allow us to monitor and improve the quality of this discharge, thereby protecting our coasts and waterways.
“It will also allow us to determine the capacity requirements of our treatment plants in Laois to facilitate the growth of new communities and businesses. Overall it offers significant benefits for public health, the environment and economic development,” he said.
The Environmental Protection Agency told the Leinster Express it issues Wastewater Discharge Authorisations to specify conditions and discharge limits for waste water plants.
"Compliance with conditions is necessary to protect water courses, human health and the aquatic environment," it said.
The EPA said flow monitoring and performance sampling equipment is necessary to demonstrate that the plant is treating the effluent to the required standards prior to discharge.
"It provides essential information to the plant operator to ensure the waste water plant is operating properly and within its design criteria," said as statement.