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Environmental compliance discrepancies in Ballymore Eustace – seeking clarification

Question écrite de Mme Grace O'SULLIVAN - Commission européenne

Question de Mme Grace O'SULLIVAN,

Diffusée le 13 février 2024

Subject: Environmental compliance discrepancies in Ballymore Eustace – seeking clarification

I seek clarification on the responses (E-002048/19)1 to questions raised by MEP Luke Flanagan on 18 April 2019. Contrary to information provided by the Irish authorities, my on-site visit in September 2022 revealed inaccuracies.

1. Question 1 queried the exclusion of Golden Falls Lake as a sensitive area under Council Directive 91/271/EEC, despite its direct connection to the River Liffey. The Commission’s response, citing the Irish authorities, did not include the lake. I request clarification on this exclusion.

2. Question 2 addressed environmental protection from waste water discharge effects. The Commission reported the agglomeration of Blessington as discharging into a non-sensitive area, conflicting with downstream sensitivity. Urgently, I seek guidance on rectifying this misdesignation in line with Council Directive 91/271/EEC.

3. Question 3, regarding monitoring Golden Falls Lake’s discharge effects, received a response claiming no awareness. Given the evident discharge into the lake from an area with a population exceeding 2 000 people, I inquire whether the requirements under Directive 2000/60/EC will be invoked. Additionally, I seek the Commission’s response to misleading information and emphasise that no discharge into Golden Falls Lake should occur without treatment suitable for drinking.



Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 14 avril 2024

Answer given by Mr Sinkevičius on behalf of the European Commission (15 April 2024)

1. The Commission confirms that Ireland has not designated Golden Falls Lake as an individual sensitive area; as a man- made lake created by the construction of a dam, it differs from the river Liffey. Although reporting under the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (2) (UWWTD) does not provide such detail, the lake is classified as a heavily modified water body, and the downstream and immediate upstream river sections as natural water bodies, under the Water Framework Directive (3) (WFD).

2. The Commission answered that the Blessington plant discharges into a non-sensitive area, based on the information provided by the Irish Authorities. With a treated load of 6 611 population equivalents (p.e), it fulfils the requirements of the UWWTD for agglomerations of this range discharging into sensitive areas, and even exceeds them given the application of phosphorus removal treatment which is not even required for sensitive areas below 10 000 p.e.

3. Under the WFD, Ireland reported good ecological potential for Golden Falls Lake in its second River Basin Management Plan (RBMP), but unknown chemical status. The Commission is currently assessing the Member States’ third RBMPs and will consider whether adequate measures are in place to achieve/maintain good status/potential. Such an assessment will be carried out also for Ireland once it adopts its third RBMP (in February 2024 Ireland was referred by the Commission to the Court of Justice of the EU for its failure to do so).

1 ∙ ⸱

2 ∙ ⸱ Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment, OJ L 135, 30.5.1991, p. 40-52.

3 ∙ ⸱ Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water

policy, OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1-73, as amended by Commission Directive 2014/101/EU of 30 October 2014, OJ L 311, 31.10.2014, p. 32-35.

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