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Ireland’s Biggest Water Treatment Plant ‘Slaughtering the Liffey’, Anglers Claim

2nd January 2024
Uisce Éireann’s Ballymore Eustace water and sludge treatment plant sits next to the River Liffey in Co Kildare
Uisce Éireann’s Ballymore Eustace water and sludge treatment plant sits next to the River Liffey in Co Kildare

A treatment plant that supplies drinking water to nearly half of Dublin’s population has been linked with significant environmental damage along its stretch of the River Liffey.

But due to a quirk in Ireland’s planning rules, the only agency with oversight of the Uisce Éireann (formerly Irish Water) facility at Ballymore Eustace is Kildare County Council.

As The Journal’s Noteworthy investigation into the matter reveals, the local authority has been accused of “turning a blind eye” to discharges from the plant, which have increased since the 1980s as the demand for water in the city has grown nearly four-fold.

Chemicals released from the plant settle on the river bed upstream of the Co Kildare village as the Liffey’s flow in these upper reaches is too weak to dilute them, says Tommy Deegan of the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association.

A spokesperson for Uisce Éireann says “optimised” treatment processes at the plant result in discharges that are “naturally low in nutrients and organic carbon”, and that it “is not aware of any impacts to aquatic life as a result of this process”.

However, hight levels of aluminium have been detected in recent years in these waters, which have recorded “poor numbers” of brown trout and salmon compared to further downstream.

Moreover, the plant was found to have been noncompliant on a number of occasions in 2023, as Noteworthy reports — while Uisce Éireann was ordered to pay some €10,000 in fines and costs over a 2022 pollution incident in the area that was successfully prosecuted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) last year.

The Journal has much more on the story HERE.

Published in River Liffey, Angling
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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