The positive impact of Irish Water’s investment in wastewater treatment "is being felt by communities" across the country -including Carlow - as new wastewater plants are built and more are being upgraded.
Three Carlow urban areas have been listed as environmental priorities in an Environmental Protection Agency report on wastewater treatment published this week.
Irish Water say they are on track to deliver on their approved investment plans which will result no areas in the country having any form of untreated wastewater discharge by 2021.
The EPA report revealed that Muinebheag-Leighlinbridge is among 28 areas nationwide that did not meet the EU’s legally binding standards for the treatment of urban wastewater.
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.
Irish Water says in Carlow upgrades have been completed at the wastewater treatment plants in Rathvilly and Hacketstown.
The new treatment plants, which were opened in September 2017, replaced facilities which dated from 1954 and were not capable of meeting the demands of the growing population or of complying with modern environmental standards.
Concerns have been expressed over the wastewater capacity of Carlow's wastewater treatment plants and the impact on housing development.
Since 2014 Irish Water has upgraded or built new wastewater treatment plants in 55 locations across the country including 12 towns where raw sewage was going directly into the water.
These new and upgraded plants have improved the environment, supported tourism and in many cases built capacity for new homes and businesses, the water utility says.
They added that the EPA’s annual Urban Wastewater Treatment Report points to the progress made by Irish Water in 2017.
The utility increased expenditure by 25% to €215 million last year to ensure the development and delivery of solutions to support the safe return of wastewater to the environment from almost 1.1 million homes throughout Ireland after it has travelled through 30,000 kilometres of public sewers and been treated at 1,100 wastewater treatment plants.
Irish Water is increasing investment in wastewater infrastructure year on year and has planned to increase spending on wastewater projects in the existing Capital Investment Plan.
Many of wastewater projects are currently in the design and planning stage and expenditure during this stage is significantly lower than during construction. Consequently there will be a large increase in wastewater expenditure over the next few years up to the end of 2021.