Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive

The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive sets standards to be met in the collection and treatment of wastewater as well as the monitoring requirements for wastewater discharges from urban areas. The directive is about protecting the environment from the adverse effects of urban wastewater discharges.

On 1 January 2014, the management of urban wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure transferred from local authorities to Irish Water. Compliance with the requirements of the directive is monitored by the EPA, and annual reports on compliance are available on the EPA website.

Licensing and authorisation for urban wastewater discharges

The licensing or certification of wastewater discharges was introduced in 2007 under the  Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007. The regulations identify the EPA as the regulator that authorises discharges from wastewater treatment plants.

Larger wastewater treatment plants are licensed, whereas smaller plants are subject to certification. The licenses set out conditions and remedial actions to be taken to ensure compliance with standards for various substances’ discharges. Licenses also outline the actions needed for meeting obligations under a number of EU environmental Directives.  The licensing and certification processes are open and transparent and access to the application documentation is freely available on the EPA website.

Further information

The EPA website contains other information about urban wastewater including:

  • Annual reports on the quality of effluent discharged from urban wastewater treatment works throughout the country
  • Search facility for wastewater discharge applications, authorisations or annual environmental reports