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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019
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EPA to inspect wastewater treatment plant after brown plume discharges into Dublin Bay

It is the third apparent spillage to occur at the facility this year.

A spillage photographed in Ringsend in recent days
A spillage photographed in Ringsend in recent days

THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency (EPA) will conduct an inspection at Ringsend wastewater treatment plant after a brown plume was pictured discharging into Dublin Bay.

Irish Water informed the EPA about the plume earlier today, after the discoloured water was photographed discharging from the plant in recent days.

However, the utility reported no unusual occurrence or breakdown at the plant over the last 48 hours and says that the facility is operating normally.

“Irish Water can confirm no incidents have occurred at the Ringsend Wastewater Treatment Plant in the last 48 hours, that the plant is operating normally and that the wastewater is treated to the best possible standards currently achievable at the plant,” the utility said.

In a statement, an EPA spokeswoman said that inspectors were conducting an inspection at the plant today to investigate and take samples of the discharge.

The agency has previously said that the plant is failing to meet national and European Union treatment standards because it is not big enough to adequately treat all of the wastewater that it receives.

DJI_0625 Source: Dublin City Shots

This week’s apparent spillage is the third time this year that a reported leak has taken place at the facility, following similar spills in February and last month.

“Waste water discharged back into the environment from this overloaded plant is breaching, and will continue to breach, the quality standards until upgrade works are complete,” a spokeswoman for the EPA said in a statement.

The spokeswoman said that the agency is liaising with Irish Water on the spillages, but says that problems are “likely” to continue until upgrade works are completed from next year onwards.

“This means that there may be a discoloured plume visible from time to time until the plant is upgraded,” the spokeswoman added.

The wastewater plant treats approximately 40% of the country’s sewage, and Irish Water is investing hundreds of millions of Euro as part of a staged of the facility to allow the wastewater of an additional 400,000 people to be treated.

Further improvements to bring the treatment capacity up to a capacity of 2.4 million are expected to be completed by 2023.

Irish Water added that other factors such as low tidal levels, water temperatures, the volume of wastewater discharged and wind strength and direction could increase the visibility of the wastewater when it was discharged.

With reporting from Cónal Thomas.

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