With the European Commission currently prosecuting the UK for 14 alleged breaches of the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive it is not surprising that 9 of these locations are in Northern Ireland.
Exacerbating the current situation is the Government’s failure to relate the impacts of allowing new housing developments to be built without consideration of their impact on a sewerage system already unable to deal with the current levels of sewage and wastewater the country creates.
With no independent style ‘Environment Agency’ in place there has been no easy route in taking the Government to task over such practices.
Recreational water users in Northern Ireland have to date not seen the benefits of full sewage treatment works in the same way other parts of the UK have.
A draft order to introduce a state owned water company has been agreed after consultation. As part of this domestic customers will for the first time pay a charge for water services.
SAS are hoping this charge will help deliver key improvements to the water environment and are now calling for areas of popular recreational water use to be clearly defined in Northern Ireland, so they can benefit from full sewage treatment options and drastically improve bathing water quality in the region.
SAS would also like to see a clearly independent environmental regulator to be installed to ensure those responsible for pollution incidents will not be protected from prosecution or a need to improve performance.