Reacting to the decision by the European Commission to refer Ireland to the European Court of Justice, National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) CEO, Barry Deane, has said that ‘every effort must be made to implement solutions as a matter of urgency’ on group water schemes that have trihalomethane (THM) non-compliances.
On the 12th November, the Commission took the decision to make the referral, citing Ireland’s failure to fully address non-compliances in relation to THMs since the opening of an infringement case in 2018.
From an original 44 water supplies identified in the Commission’s 2020 reasoned opinion, issues remain on 30 water supplies (including nine group water schemes). The view of the Commission is that it is taking too long to rectify these issues.
While sustainable solutions have now been identified for the majority of GWSs listed, there are still a small number of supplies where solutions have yet to be finalised. The remedies identified include the upgrading of existing treatment facilities, treatment process optimisation, amalgamation with neighbouring GWSs, and schemes connecting to and/or being taken in charge by Irish Water.
The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH) is working with local authorities, Irish Water and the NFGWS to prioritise the swift implementation of the identified solutions in order to avoid potential fines should Ireland be found guilty.
Commenting on the referral, Barry Deane, said,
‘It is unfortunate that, for a variety of reasons, it has taken so long to identify sustainable solutions for many of the schemes effected.
‘Some GWSs have had to make very difficult decisions over the past 12 months and the NFGWS will continue to support all group water schemes as the focus must now turn to the progression of identified solutions as speedily as possible.’
This article originally featured in the most recent edition of the Rural Water News magazine. To read the full edition and to sign up to our magazine mailing list, click here.