Three Carlow urban areas have been listed as environmental priorities in an Environmental Protection Agency report on wastewater treatment.
The EPA's report states that urban areas where improvements are needed to resolve environmental priorities include: Muinebheag-Leighlinbridge, Nurney and Tullow.
Waste water treatment at 28 of Ireland’s 179 large towns and cities failed to meet standards set to prevent pollution and protect public health.
Muinebheag-Leighlinbridge is among 28 areas nationwide that did not meet the EU’s legally binding standards for the treatment of urban wastewater.
Wastewater from 57 areas caused significant impacts on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.
Nurney and Tullow were listed among the 57 areas where the EPA consider wastewater discharges to be the sole significant pressure on water bodies at risk of pollution with Ballynaboley Stream and the River Slaney affected.
Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: "Ireland is not addressing the deficiencies in its wastewater treatment infrastructure at a fast-enough pace.
"It is unacceptable that, 13 years after the final deadline to comply with treatment standards, there are still 28 large towns and cities discharging inadequately treated sewage that fails to meet these standards.
"This is putting our health at risk and is having an impact on our rivers, lakes and coastal waters."
Darragh Page, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said: "Investment in wastewater infrastructure has brought environmental benefits in 2017, and we welcome the elimination of discharges of raw sewage from the equivalent of over 50,000 people.
"However, a substantial increase in the rate of investment is necessary to provide the infrastructure needed to treat our waste water.
"Irish Water also needs to improve its understanding of the condition and performance of sewers, to help focus sewer upgrade works where they are most urgently needed."