Water Quality Legislation

The Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977 and 1990 enable local authorities to:

  • prosecute for water pollution offences
  • attach appropriate pollution control conditions in the licensing of effluent discharges made to waters or to sewers;
  • issue notices  specifying measures to be taken within a prescribed period to prevent water pollution
  • issue notices requiring a person to cease the pollution of waters and requiring the mitigation or remedying of any effects of the pollution in the manner and within the period specified in such notices
  • seek court orders, including High Court injunctions, to prevent, terminate, mitigate or remedy pollution/its effects
  • prepare water quality management plans for any waters in or adjoining their functional areas
  • make bye-laws regulating certain agricultural activities where the local authority considers this to be necessary so as to prevent or eliminate pollution of waters
  • issue notices requiring farmers to prepare nutrient management plans with the aim of ensuring that nutrients applied to land from chemical fertilisers and organic farm wastes, take account of nutrients already available in the soil and are consistent with recommended application rates, crop requirement and the need to avoid water pollution.

With the exception of effluent from domestic residences with a flow of <5m3/day, a discharge licence is required for all discharges of sewage and other waste-waters to surface water, groundwater and public foul sewer