The Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (Council Directive 91/271/EEC) mandates waste water collection and treatment requirements for urban agglomerations. Member States had until the end of 2000 to ensure appropriate treatment for large agglomerations (population equivalent of more than 15,000) and until the end of 2005 for agglomerations of population equivalent greater than 2,000 discharging to freshwaters and estuaries. The Commission considers that Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under a number of articles of the Directive.
A Letter of Formal Notice (LFN), issued in October 2013, began the formal infringement procedure. The Commission updated the LFN in September 2015 and Ireland responded in January 2016. A Reasoned Opinion was issued in September 2016.
The Commission decided to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU in February 2017 and the case was formally lodged with the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on 18 July 2017.
The Chief State Solicitor’s Office formally lodged Ireland’s Defence with the CJEU on 27 October 2017. The written procedure in this case closed on 5 February 2018 and the Decision of the Court is awaited.