Study Finds Raw Sewage Sludge Landspread in Ireland

The main results from the survey were:

  • The vast majority of local authorities were making it a requirement in contracts that sludge is managed according to the ‘Code of Good Practice for the Use of Biosolids in Agriculture’.
  • 5 local authorities did not make the Code of Good Practice a requirement. A further local authority said they made the Code of Good Practice a requirement, but were using the exemption in the legislation1 to spread the sludge untreated onto land.
  • 23,793 wet tonnes of untreated sludge was landspread in Ireland in 20122. In addition to this figure, one local authority reports that they landspread

A new study by Cré on how sewage sludge is managed in Ireland was conducted by surveying local authorities.

The study found that approximately 24,000 tonnes of raw sewage sludge was applied to land in Ireland in 2012. This is a food safety issue as outlined in a 2008 report by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI).

The practice of putting raw sewage sludge on land is allowed under Irish Regulations. In 2007, the FSAI met the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to get the exemptions in the Regulations removed. The Department gave to the FSAI a commitment that a limited revision of the Regulations would be provided that would see a prohibition on the use of untreated sludge and the setting of standards for treated sludges.

This revision has not been carried out to-date.

Cré is calling on the Department to honour its commitment to the FSAI.