26 years after EU standards were set and 12 years after the deadline for complying with those standards has passed, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has found 44 areas nationwide where untreated sewage from the equivalent of 120,000 people is being discharged directly into the environment each day.
The 4 Galway areas found to be discharging raw sewage are Roundstone, Carraroe, Spiddal and Ahascragh.
The EPA has warned that harmful bacteria and viruses in raw sewage can pose a threat to public health, aquatic ecosystems and the amenity value of Irish waters.
In addition, Athenry, Oughterard and Gort were identified as ‘populous areas’ in the county where the collection and treatment of waste did not meet 2016 standards.
The agency said that capital investment must increase substantially to address the legacy issues of under-investment in sewage treatment over many years and to provide the necessary sewage treatment infrastructure.
EPA Director of Environmental Enforcement Gerard O’Leary said people’s lives could be put at risk if we do not treat sewage correctly.