Environmental Legislation – Water

In Ireland the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act, 1977, (as amended by the 1990 Act) provides the principal legal framework for the prevention and control of water pollution.

This act includes

  • A general prohibition against water pollution as well
  • Provisions on licensing direct and indirect discharges
  • Water quality standards and management plans.
  • Increased maximum penalties for summary conviction and
  • Polluters may also have to pay the cost of the prosecuting authority and for measures to redress the damage caused by pollution.

Legislation adopted by the EU over the past two decades can be divided into three broad categories:

  • Directives and Regulations setting water quality objectives for various uses.
  • Directives which sought to limit or prohibit discharges of dangerous substances into waters.
  • Provisions on marine pollution which aim primarily to put an end to pollution, protect the North Sea, the Baltic and the Mediterranean and to prevent pollution from land-based sources.

It is the responsibility of the Environmental Protection Agency and the local authorities to ensure that water quality is preserved and protected.

Control by the enforcement of national and EU standards is key to to the resolution of water quality problems and will be achieved by

  • Water quality management planning
  • The licensing and policing of discharges
  • Following approved agricultural procedures
  • Public environmental awareness