Blessington W.W.T.P.


BLESSINGTON WWTP DISCHARGE INTO GOLDEN FALLS (LAKE LOWERED TO OLD RIVER LEVEL) 30th  APRIL 2016

Blessington Sewage Plant Discharge to Golden Falls

Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers Association

Wicklow County Council’s Application for a Waste Water Discharge Licence into Golden Falls Lake.

Wicklow County Council applied to the Environmental Protection Agency for a Waste Water Discharge Licence to discharge effluent from Blessington Sewage Treatment Plant into Golden Falls Lake.

The TSAA made the following submission etc

BALLYMORE EUSTACE TROUT AND SALMON ANGLERS’ ASSOCIATION
Barrack Street,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
5th September 2008
Environmental Protection Agency,
PO Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle,
Co. Wexford,
Re: Application by Wicklow County Council for a Waste Water Discharge Licence for the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant discharge into Golden Falls Lake. (Register No. D0063-01)
Dear Sir/Madam,
On behalf of the above Association I wish to make the following submission on Wicklow County Council’s application (in accordance with the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007) to the Environmental Protection Agency for a Waste Water Discharge Licence in respect of the discharge from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant into Golden Falls Lake.
When Wicklow County Council built a new Sewage Treatment Plant in Blessington in the mid 1980’s they and Dublin Corporation decided to discharge the effluent into Golden Falls Lake in order not to pollute Poulaphouca Reservoir. If there was a danger of polluting Poulaphouca Reservoir then what chance had Golden Falls Lake, which is barely one hundredth the size of Poulaphouca Reservoir and with far less dilution available. The 50 acre Golden Falls Lake is in County Kildare. In November 1984 (Ref 295/84) Kildare County Council gave Wicklow County Council permission to lay the four mile long discharge pipeline from Blessington Sewage Treatment Plant through townslands in County Kildare in order to reach and discharge into Golden Falls Lake. This ‘neighbours from hell’ act by Wicklow County Council met with considerable opposition from the people of Ballymore Eustace. Despite all the assurances we received from Wicklow County Council, Kildare County Council and various Government Ministers we didn’t have to wait long before the EPA Report ‘Water Quality in Ireland 1998 – 2000’ pointed out that Golden Falls Lake in the year 2000 was in the Hypertropic Category i.e. a Very High level of Pollution. Wicklow County Council’s first response was to blame Simpleseas Fish Farm at Poulaphouca Power Station as being primarily responsible for the pollution but this was categorically denied by Simpleseas and backed up by Kildare County Council who monitored the discharge from the fish farm. It was pointed out by Simpleseas management that when the water level in Golden Falls Lake was lowered by the ESB in the summer of 2002 to allow maintenance work on Golden Falls Dam, a high (15 – 20 feet) sludge bank was visible at the Blessington Sewage Treatment Plant Discharge Point in Golden Falls and that this indicated that the Sewage Plant was primarily responsible for the pollution. The Association believes that a site investigation should be conducted to find out if the sludge bank still remains and if so, then Wicklow County Council should be made remove the sludge and clean up the location. Blessington WWTP can discharge an average of over 212 kg of suspended solids per week into Golden Falls Lake and up to in excess of 870 kg per week and the Association believes that this level of solids dumped into the Lake is unsustainable in the long term.
The Association was surprised to learn from the Waste Water Discharge application form that the ESB granted a licence to Wicklow County Council to discharge from Blessington into Golden Falls Lake (subject to volumetric and quality standards being achieved in the treated effluent) as we were not aware the ESB were a licensing authority and we respectfully request the EPA to examine this licence in detail. The WWDL Application also states “A part of the discharge license agreement with the ESB provided for water quality monitoring on a monthly basis by Wicklow County Council. This monitoring has been undertaken for the last 21 years by Wicklow County Council and the analysis of the data indicates a good quality receiving water with no adverse impacts evident from the wastewater treatment works discharge.” How can Wicklow County Council make such a claim in light of the EPA Report ‘Water Quality in Ireland 1998 – 2000’ with regard to Golden Falls Lake? Also, the Association believes that little if any sampling of the water in Golden Falls was carried out in the past year.
In a reply, concerning the Blessington WWTP discharge to Golden Falls Lake dated 2nd May 1985, to Mr. Joe Bermingham T.D. Minister of State, Department of Finance, Mr. John Carrick, County Engineer, Kildare County Council states inter alia … “The possibility of requiring Wicklow County Council to take the effluent to a point downstream of Ballymore Eustace was considered initially, but after examination referred to above, it was found unnecessary. Wicklow County Council were advised, however, that should unforeseen developments take place in the area which might increase a pollutional load on the river beyond accepted levels, then alternative arrangements would have to be made regarding the disposal of the effluent e.g. taking the discharge downstream of Ballymore, or the provision of tertiary treatment.” We now know that it did not take long before the pollutional load increased “beyond accepted levels” even though the population of Blessington was well below the design capacity of the waste water treatment plant. See Chapter 11 page 88 and Appendix 2 page 146 of the ‘Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association History 1974 – 2007’ (enclosed as an Appendix to this submission) for a pretty detailed account of the Association’s and local opposition to Wicklow County Council’s plans to discharge effluent from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant into Golden Falls Lake. The Association believes that “unforeseen developments” have taken place as Wicklow County Council in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2004 - 2010 have now designated Blessington as a “Primary Local Growth Centre” and this warrants a whole new look at discharging into Golden Falls Lake just upstream of the village of Ballymore Eustace.
The 2002 and 2006 Census figures show that the population of Blessington increased from 2509 to 4018 respectively, an increase of 60.1%. As provided in the Wicklow County Development Plan, Blessington is designated a ‘Primary Local Growth Centre’ with an indicative population in 2010 of 6,500. In March 2007 Wicklow County Council put a new 6000 P.E. Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant into operation. It appears to the Association from these figures that the new plant will be overloaded almost as soon as it is built. The Association also notes that sewage sludge is being imported from other villages in West Wicklow. The Association was informed by letter dated 21st March 2003 that Wicklow County Council proposed to upgrade the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant to include tertiary treatment and phosphorous removal. However we note from Wicklow County Council’s application notice for a Waste Water Discharge Licence (Wicklow People 13th August 2008) that the new Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant is only a secondary treatment plant. Why does Wicklow County Council keep trying to mislead us? The Association is appalled to learn, from the analysis results of the final effluent in the application form for a discharge licence, that the new Blessington WWTP is not operating to Works Compliance Standard of phosphorus removal for a massive 76.9% of the time. If this is already happening with a new plant, what are the prospects for the future. We also note from the application that the coagulant used for phosphorus reduction is Aluminium Sulphate. Is this the reason for the high background levels of aluminium recorded in the Liffey samples upstream of Dublin City Councils discharge to the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace from their Water Purification Plant. (Following a visit to the Dublin City Council Waterworks on the 13th July 2006, the Office of Environmental Enforcement EPA requested amongst other things “a calculation of the assimilative capacity of the River Liffey with regards to the levels of aluminium in the discharge from the treatment plant should be carried out.” (PAE2005/194)
Because of the circumstances that exist at Golden Falls Lake the Association has always held the view that the discharge from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant should never have been allowed into this small man made Lake just upstream of the village of Ballymore Eustace. Golden Falls Lake was set up under the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936, which allowed the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) harness the Liffey at Poulaphouca for electricity generation and Dublin Corporation to abstract 5 million gallons of water per day for a public water supply. Dublin City Council are now constructing a massive upgrade and extension of the Water Purification Plant at Ballymore Eustace which will allow them treat 70 million gallons of water per day (318 Ml). Golden Falls Lake was constructed as a buffer Lake to collect the huge water flows that emit from Poulaphouca Hydro Power Station (30 MW) when it is generating electricity (each of the two turbines can discharge between 11 and 38 cubic metres per second into Golden Falls Lake depending on turbine output i.e. 76 m3/sec when both turbines are operating at 15 MW). This water is then released in a much-reduced flow from Golden Falls Lake via Golden Fall Hydro Power Station (4MW) to the River Liffey.
Under the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936, the ESB may at all times release up to 1.5 cubic metres of water per second from Golden Falls Lake to maintain the flow in the River Liffey (referred to as compensation water in the 1936 Act) and when Poulaphouca Reservoir is above the low water level (581 ft OD in the 1936 Act) the ESB may also generate electricity and thus release large volumes of water (30 million galls of water per second) to the River Liffey downstream of Golden Falls.
With the increased volumes of water abstraction from Poulaphouca Reservoir there is now less hydro generation of electricity taking place and so there is less generation ‘floods’ on the River Liffey than heretofore. In 2006 and 2007 the flow of the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace downstream of Poulaphouca and Golden Falls was 1.5 cubic metres per second for 91.54 % and 86.53% of the time respectively and 30 cubic metres per second for the remaining times. It can be seen that, through the goodness of their heart, (believe it or not, the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936 allows the ESB to shut off the flow of the Liffey if that suits their purpose, but thankfully this has never happened) the ESB always release a flow into the Liffey downstream of Golden Falls Lake.
However, the Association does not believe that this is the case with the flow into Golden Falls Lake from Poulaphouca Reservoir. The turbines at Poulaphouca Hydro Generation Station are used to control the water levels in Golden Falls Lake. When the turbines are ‘on-load’ there is a huge volume entering and filling up the Lake but when the turbines are not ‘on load’ there is no flow into Golden Falls and the level in the Lake drops until the turbines again fill it up. The discharge from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant is a continuous flow into Golden Falls Lake and we believe that this leads to a ‘slug’ discharge into the Lake, with little dilution when the turbines are not in operation, i.e. for the vast majority of the time, and this ‘slug’ only get a large dilution when the turbines are switched ‘on-load’ to maintain the water level in the Lake and for electricity generation. This on–off operation also allows the solids to settle out on the bed of the Lake.
The Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment specifies that the mean annual concentration for total Phosphate is not to exceed 0.035 mg/l P in Poulaphouca Reservoir in order to protect the beneficial uses in the Reservoir. Figures for Golden Falls Lake during 2007 reveal the total Phosphorus concentration is above the 0.035 mg/l P level. Faecal Coliforms counts of over 2400 were also recorded in the Golden Falls Lake during 2007. The effects of the increased levels of water abstraction from Poulaphouca Reservoir by Dublin City Council and Kildare County Council’s generosity in allowing Wicklow County Council discharge into Golden Falls Lake are now coming home to roost. A slimy fungus like growth has now appeared on the concrete slipway of Golden Falls Dam. The ESB feel it necessary to erect a health and safety notice (see photo below) at Golden Falls Power Station in Ballymore Eustace but no such warning is deemed necessary by Wicklow or Kildare County Councils for anglers, water skiers or other users of Golden Falls Lake or the River Liffey. Is there a health and safety issue with the Blessington WWTP discharge into Golden Falls Lake that the public and Lake users are not being told about? The Association is also concerned, as it appears that Wicklow County Council took few, if any, water samples from Golden Falls Lake since July 2007. There are a number of other discharges into Golden Falls Lake. The Association was particularly concerned when Wicklow County Council and An Bord Pleanala in 2004 granted planning permission to Comfort Hotel Tulfarris to discharge the effluent from a proposed new sewage treatment plant for an extended Tulfarris Golf and Country Club Hotel and Tulfarris Village into Poulaphouca Gorge downstream of Poulaphouca Dam. The only dilution available at this location would be the water that leaks from the Dam but the effluent would however make its way into Golden Falls Lake. (See Chapter 14 page 151 of the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association History 1974 –2007). As far as the Association is aware, the new sewage treatment plant has not been constructed yet as it appears that the ESB will not allow the effluent be discharged through and onto their property. Granting planning permission for this one mile long discharge outfall to Golden Falls shows that Wicklow County Council has little if any regard for the water quality in Golden Falls Lake or the beneficial uses of the Lake, as Golden Falls Lake is in County Kildare as is the village of Ballymore Eustace. It is similar to dumping in a neighbour’s back yard.
Under the heading Attachment B.11: Significant Correspondence, Wicklow County Council states “There has been no incidents of non-compliance associated with this WWTP and thus the EPA have not had to issue Wicklow County Council with a section 63 notice” ---. When the Association first learned of the pollution of Golden Falls Lake from the EPA Report, we wrote to Wicklow County Manager by letter dated 5th February 2003 about the pollution of Golden Falls Lake. This letter was copied to the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, Minister for Fisheries, Kildare County Manager, Eastern Regional Fisheries Board, Mr. Charles McCreevy T.D. Minister for Finance, Mr. Dick Roche T.D. Minister of State, TD’s and Cllrs. Billy Timmins, Liz McManus, Mildred Fox, Sean Power and Cllrs. Liam Kavanagh, John Dardis and Billy Hillis. The Senior Executive Officer, Environmental Services Section, Wicklow County Council replied by letter dated 21st March 2003 which was also copied to all the above blaming the fish farm at Poulaphouca for the pollution and stating “(and nothwithstanding that this Council believes that it is not primarily responsible for the deteriorating situation), the Council, as part of its planned upgrading of its treatment facilities proposes to provide tertiary treatment including phosphorous removal, with the purpose of further reducing the impact of its discharge on the Golden Falls.” There was a raft of correspondence concerning the pollution of Golden Falls between the various parties in the early part of 2003 including Ministers, TD’s, Kildare County Council and Councillors to Wicklow County Council. As mentioned earlier, the management of the fish farm denied they were responsible for the pollution of the Lake and pointed out the 15-20 feet high sludge bank on the bed of the Lake downstream of the Blessington WWTP discharge, and from there down, sludge of 1.5 – 2.0 feet in depth. Wicklow County Council in their WWDL Application obviously do not consider any of this ‘significant correspondence’.
The Association respectfully requests the Environmental Protection Agency to impose stringent tertiary treatment limits, nutrient removal conditions and monitoring arrangements, on Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant Discharge and to consider possible alternatives to discharging into Golden Falls Lake just upstream of Ballymore Eustace. Such alternatives might include discharging to Osberstown via Naas or discharging to Ringsend via City West. Compensation packages would of course have to be negotiated with the relevant Local Authority.
Yours sincerely,_
____________________________
Gary Bolger
Honorary Secretary
BALLYMORE EUSTACE TROUT AND SALMON ANGLERS’ ASSOCIATION
BarrackStreet,
BallymoreEustace,
Co. Kildare.
5th September 2008
Mr. Padraig McManus,
Chief Executive,
Electricity Supply Board,
Lower Fitzwilliam Street,
Dublin 2,
Re: Application by Wicklow County Council for a Waste Water Discharge Licence for the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant discharge into Golden Falls Lake.
(EPA Register No. D0063-01)
Dear Mr. McManus,
Wicklow County Council’s have applied (in accordance with the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007) to the Environmental Protection Agency for a Waste Water Discharge Licence (WWDL) in respect of the discharge from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant into Golden Falls Lake.
When Wicklow County Council built a new Sewage Treatment Plant in Blessington in the mid 1980’s they and Dublin Corporation decided to discharge the effluent into Golden Falls Lake in order not to pollute Poulaphouca Reservoir. If there was a danger of polluting Poulaphouca Reservoir then what chance had Golden Falls Lake, which is barely one hundredth the size of Poulaphouca Reservoir and with far less dilution available. Most of the 50 acre Golden Falls Lake is in County Kildare. In November 1984 (Ref 295/84) Kildare County Council gave Wicklow County Council permission to lay the four mile long discharge pipeline from Blessington Sewage Treatment Plant through townslands in County Kildare in order to reach and discharge into Golden Falls Lake. It also appears from the WWDL Application that the ESB granted a licence for the discharge into Golden Falls Lake. This ‘neighbours from hell’ act by Wicklow County Council met with considerable opposition from the people of Ballymore Eustace. Despite all the assurances we received from Wicklow County Council, Kildare County Council and various Government Ministers we didn’t have to wait long before the EPA Report ‘Water Quality in Ireland 1998 – 2000’ pointed out that Golden Falls Lake in the year 2000 was in the Hypertropic Category i.e. a Very High level of Pollution. Wicklow County Council’s first response was to blame Simpleseas Fish Farm at Poulaphouca Power Station as being primarily responsible for the pollution but this was categorically denied by Simpleseas and backed up by Kildare County Council who monitored the discharge from the fish farm. It was pointed out by Simpleseas management that when the water level in Golden Falls Lake was lowered in the summer of 2002 a high sludge bank was visible at the Blessington Sewage Treatment Plant Discharge Point in Golden Falls and that this indicated that the Sewage Plant was primarily responsible for the pollution.
In a reply, concerning the Blessington WWTP discharge to Golden Falls Lake dated 2nd May 1985, to Mr. Joe Bermingham T.D. Minister of State, Department of Finance, Mr. John Carrick, County Engineer, Kildare County Council states inter alia … “The possibility of requiring Wicklow County Council to take the effluent to a point downstream of Ballymore Eustace was considered initially, but after examination referred to above, it was found unnecessary. Wicklow County Council were advised, however, that should unforeseen developments take place in the area which might increase a pollutional load on the river beyond accepted levels, then alternative arrangements would have to be made regarding the disposal of the effluent e.g. taking the discharge downstream of Ballymore, or the provision of tertiary treatment.” We now know that it did not take long before the pollutional load increased “beyond accepted levels” even though the population of Blessington was well below the design capacity of the waste water treatment plant. The Association believes that “unforeseen developments” have taken place as Wicklow County Council in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2004 - 2010 have now designated Blessington as a “Primary Local Growth Centre” and this warrants a whole new look at discharging into Golden Falls Lake just upstream of the village of Ballymore Eustace.
The 2002 and 2006 Census figures show that the population of Blessington increased from 2509 to 4018 respectively, an increase of 60.1%. As provided in the Wicklow County Development Plan, Blessington is designated a ‘Primary Local Growth Centre’ with an indicative population in 2010 of 6,500. In March 2007 Wicklow County Council put a new 6000 P.E. Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant into operation. It appears to the Association from these figures that the new plant will be overloaded almost as soon as it is built. The Association also notes that sewage sludge is being imported from other villages in West Wicklow. The Association was informed by letter from Wicklow County Council dated 21st March 2003 that Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant was to be upgraded to include tertiary treatment and phosphorous removal. However we note from Wicklow County Council’s application notice for a Waste Water Discharge Licence (Wicklow People 13th August 2008) that the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant is only a secondary treatment plant. Why does Wicklow County Council keep trying to mislead us? The Association is appalled to learn from the analysis results of the final effluent in the application form for a discharge licence that the new Blessington WWTP is not operating to Works Compliance Standard of phosphorus removal for huge 76.9% of the time. If this is already happening with a new plant what are the prospects for the future. Because of the circumstances that exist at Golden Falls Lake the Association has always held the view that the discharge from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant should never have been allowed into this small man made Lake just upstream of the village of Ballymore Eustace. Golden Falls Lake was set up under the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936, which allowed the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) harness the Liffey at Poulaphouca for electricity generation and Dublin Corporation to abstract 5 million gallons of water per day for a public water supply. Dublin City Council are now constructing a massive upgrade and extension of the Water Purification Plant at Ballymore Eustace which will allow them treat 70 million gallons of water per day. Golden Falls Lake was constructed as a buffer Lake to collect the huge water flows that emit from Poulaphouca Hydro Power Station (30 MW) when it is generating electricity (each of the two turbines can discharge between 11 and 38 cubic metres per second into Golden Falls Lake depending on turbine output i.e. 76 m3/sec when both turbines are operating at 15 MW). This water is then released in a much-reduced flow from Golden Falls Lake via Golden Fall Hydro Power Station (4MW) to the River Liffey.
Under the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936, the ESB may at all times release up to 1.5 cubic metres of water per second from Golden Falls Lake to maintain the flow in the River Liffey (referred to as compensation water in the 1936 Act) and when Poulaphouca Reservoir is above the low water level (581 ft OD in the 1936 Act) the ESB may also generate electricity and thus release large volumes of water (30 million galls of water per second) to the River Liffey downstream of Golden Falls.
With the increased volumes of water abstraction from Poulaphouca Reservoir there is now less hydro generation of electricity taking place and so there is less generation ‘floods’ on the River Liffey than heretofore. In 2006 and 2007 the flow of the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace downstream of Poulaphouca and Golden Falls was 1.5 cubic metres per second for 91.54 % and 86.53% of the time respectively and 30 cubic metres per second for the remaining times. It can be seen that, through the goodness of their heart, (believe it or not, the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936 allows the ESB to shut off the flow of the Liffey if that suits their purpose, but thankfully this has never happened) the ESB always release a flow into the Liffey downstream of Golden Falls Lake.
However, the Association does not believe that this is the case with the flow into Golden Falls Lake from Poulaphouca Reservoir. The turbines at Poulaphouca Hydro Generation Station are used to control the water levels in Golden Falls Lake. When the turbines are ‘on-load’ there is a huge volume entering and filling up the Lake but when the turbines are not ‘on load’ there is no flow into Golden Falls and the level in the Lake drops until the turbines again fill it up. The discharge from Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant is a continuous flow into Golden Falls Lake and we believe that this leads to a ‘slug’ discharge into the Lake, with little dilution when the turbines are not in operation, i.e. for the vast majority of the time, and this ‘slug’ only get a large dilution when the turbines are switched ‘on-load’ to maintain the water level in the Lake and for electricity generation. The Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment specifies that the mean annual concentration for total Phosphate is not to exceed 0.035 mg/l P in Poulaphouca Reservoir in order to protect the beneficial uses in the Reservoir. Figures for Golden Falls Lake during 2007 reveal the total Phosphorus concentration is above the 0.035 mg/l P level. Faecal Coliforms counts of over 2400 were also recorded in the Golden Falls Lake during 2007. The effects of the increased levels of water abstraction from Poulaphouca Reservoir by Dublin City Council and Kildare County Council’s generosity in allowing Wicklow County Council discharge into Golden Falls Lake are now coming home to roost. A slimy fungus like growth has now appeared on the concrete slipway of Golden Falls Dam. The ESB feel it necessary to erect a health and safety notice (see photo below) at Golden Falls Power Station in Ballymore Eustace but no such warning is deemed necessary by Wicklow or Kildare County Councils for anglers, water skiers or other users of Golden Falls Lake or the River Liffey. Is there a health and safety issue with the Blessington WWTP discharge into Golden Falls Lake that the public and Lake users are not being told about? The Association is also concerned, as it appears that Wicklow County Council took few, if any, water samples from Golden Falls Lake since July 2007. There are a number of other discharges into Golden Falls Lake. The Association was particularly concerned when Wicklow County Council and An Bord Pleanala in 2004 granted planning permission to Comfort Hotel Tulfarris to discharge the effluent from a proposed new sewage treatment plant for an extended Tulfarris Golf and Country Club Hotel and Tulfarris Village into Poulaphouca Gorge downstream of Poulaphouca Dam. The only dilution available at this location would be the water that leaks from the Dam but the effluent would however make its way into Golden Falls Lake. As far as the Association is aware, the new sewage treatment plant has not been constructed yet as it appears that the ESB will not allow the effluent be discharged through and onto their property. Granting planning permission for this one mile long discharge outfall to Golden Falls shows that Wicklow County Council has little if any regard for the water quality in Golden Falls Lake or the beneficial uses of the Lake, as most of Golden Falls Lake is in County Kildare as is the village of Ballymore Eustace. It is similar to dumping in a neighbour’s back yard.
The Association has made a submission to the EPA on Wicklow County Council’s WWDL Application and respectfully request ESB to support our request to the Environmental Protection Agency that they impose stringent tertiary treatment limits, nutrient removal conditions and monitoring arrangements, on Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant Discharge and to consider possible alternatives to discharging into Golden Falls Lake just upstream of Ballymore Eustace.
Yours sincerely,
_____________________________
Gary Bolger
Honorary Secretary
Photo of Notice did not copy
Health and Safety Notice at Golden Falls Power Station
Letters similar to above letter to ESB sent to the following requesting them to support our submission to EPA.
Kildare County Manager, Aras Chill Dara, Devoy Park, Naas.
Padraig McManus, Chief Executive, ESB, Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin
Pat Doherty, CEO, Eastern Regional Fisheries Board, Blackrock, Co. Dublin
. The Secretary, An Taisce-National Trust for Ireland, The Tailors Hall, Dublin 8.
Mr John Cregan, Director Regional Health Office, Health Service Executive< Dublin Mid Leinster, Clonminch, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.
Dr P.J. Claffey, Programme Manager, Health and Safety Authority, Metropolitan Building, James Joyce Street, Dublin 1.
Ballymore Eustace Community Development Association, CDA
By Hand, Golden Falls Water Ski Club.
Email Councillor Billy Hillis, Dunstown, Brannockstown, Naas, Co. Kildare
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Barrack Street,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
13th April 2009
Office of Environmental Enforcement,
Environmental Protection Agency,
Regional Inspectorate,
McCumiskey House,
Richview,
Clonskeagh Road,
Dublin 14.
Dear Sir,
On behalf of the above Association I wish to complain about the polluted state of the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace by an algae scum caused we believe by nutrients from Wicklow County Council’s Blessington WWTP discharge into Golden Falls Lake. While we are keeping our fingers crossed that this scum like algae is not having a detrimental affect on the spawning gravels or aquatic fly life, it is seriously reducing the recreational value of the Liffey and is totally unacceptable.
Analyses figures for the first seven months of 2007 reveal very high levels of total phosphorus (up to 0.55 mg P/l) in Golden Falls Lake and we believe that this is the cause of the algae bloom in the River Liffey immediately downstream of Golden Falls and continuing for a number of miles downstream.
While Wicklow County Council’s Blessington WWTP discharges into Golden Falls Lake, the Lake itself is in County Kildare.
The Association requests the Environmental Protection Agency to examine the situation with a view to having the phosphorus concentrations in Golden Falls Lake reduced to acceptable levels that will not pollute the Lake and the Liffey.
Yours sincerely,
___________________________
Gary Bolger
Honorary Secretary
The above letter was sent on to the EPAs Waste Water Discharge Licence office dealing with Blessington.
Another letter
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Barrack Street,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
19th April 2010
Office of Environmental Enforcement,
Environmental Protection Agency,
Regional Inspectorate, McCumiskey House,
Richview,
Clonskeagh Road,
Dublin 14.
Dear Sir/Madam,
On behalf of the above Association I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the polluted state of the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace by an algae scum caused we believe by nutrients from Wicklow County Council’s Blessington WWTP discharge into Golden Falls Lake. This scum like algae on the surface is seriously reducing the recreational and aesthetic value of the Liffey and is totally unacceptable. Since there is also a filamentous algae covering the gravels it is impossible to say that it is not harming the aquatic invertebrates and fauna in the Liffey.
The Association reported a similar algae growth to the Office of Environmental Enforcement by letter dated 13th April 2009 but no action to remedy the pollution has to our knowledge been taken by the EPA, Wicklow or Kildare County Councils. This is totally unacceptable.
Analyses figures from Wicklow County Council for the first seven months of 2007 (the only figures available to the Association) reveal very high levels of total phosphorus (up to 0.55 mg P/l) in Golden Falls Lake and we believe that this is the cause of the algae bloom in the River Liffey immediately downstream of Golden Falls and continuing for a number of miles downstream.
While Wicklow County Council’s Blessington WWTP discharges into Golden Falls Lake, the Lake itself is in County Kildare. The ESB control the water flow through the Lake.
The Association requests the Office of Environmental Enforcement, Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate action to rid the Liffey of this horrible pollution. Indeed it is time the EPA took a much firmer stance on all the sources of pollution to the Liffey in Ballymore Eustace.
Yours sincerely,
___________________________
Gary Bolger
Honorary Secretary
Copy: Mr. Eddie Sheehy, Manager, Wicklow County Council
Mr. Michael Malone, Manager, Kildare County Council
Mr. Padraig McManus C.E. Electricity Supply Board.
Mr. Pat Doherty, C.E.O. Eastern Regional Fisheries Board.
Again, this letter was passed on to the EPA's WWDL application office
And another letter
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
25th April 2012
Office of Environmental Enforcement,
Environmental Protection Agency,
Regional Inspectorate, McCumiskey House,
Richview,
Clonskeagh Road,
Dublin 14.
Dear Sir/Madam,
On behalf of the above Association I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms about the polluted state of the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace by an algae scum caused we believe by nutrients from Wicklow County Council’s Blessington WWTP discharge into Golden Falls Lake. This scum like algae on the surface is seriously reducing the recreational and aesthetic value of the Liffey and is totally unacceptable. It is impossible now for anglers to fly fish the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace without getting their lines and flies covered in algae. Also, since there is a filamentous algae covering the gravels there is a danger that this is harming the aquatic invertebrates, flora and fauna of the Liffey and this needs to be investigated.
The Association reported a similar algae growth to the Office of Environmental Enforcement by letter dated 13th April 2009 and again by letter dated 19th April 2010. In the mistaken belief that something was being done to remedy the situation we did not report the matter in 2011. However, no action to remedy the pollution has to our knowledge been taken by the EPA, Wicklow or Kildare County Councils. This is totally unacceptable.
Since the algae is present upstream and downstream of Kildare County Council’s overloaded sewage treatment plant discharge at Ballymore Eustace, the Association believes that the source of the pollution is nutrients from the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant. While Wicklow County Council’s Blessington WWTP discharges into Golden Falls Lake, the Lake itself is in County Kildare. The ESB control the water flow through the Lake and Licensed the discharge.
Wicklow County Council should never have been allowed discharge effluent from Blessington WWTP into Golden Falls Lake where a minimum dilution was not guaranteed and this injustice must be rectified. The Association requests the Office of Environmental Enforcement, Environmental Protection Agency to take immediate action to rid the Liffey of this horrible pollution. Indeed it is time the EPA took a much firmer stance on all the sources of pollution to the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace.
Yours sincerely,
___________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Copy: Mr. Eddie Sheehy, Manager, Wicklow County Council
Mr. Michael Malone, Manager, Kildare County Council
Mr. Pat O’Doherty Chief Executive, Electricity Supply Board.
Mr. William Walsh, Inland Fisheries Ireland.
The Association has also sought the support of many other bodies.
An Taisce made a submission dated 19/09/2008 and Ballymore Eustace CDA made a submission dated 22/9/2008. The Eastern Regional Fisheries Board (ERFB) made a submission dated 3/9/2009 and S. Deegan made a submission dated 12/11/2009.
The EPA on the 19th June 2009 requested Further Information from Wicklow County Council.
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. 16th April 2011
Mr. Senan Colleran,
Hydro Manager,
Generation Operations,
ESB Energy International,
Ardnacrusha Gen. Stn.,
Castlebank,
Limerick,
Co. Clare.
Dear Mr. Colleran,
Thank you for your letter dated 10th April 2011 in response to our letter of the 28th February addressed to ESB Chief Executive, Mr. Padraig McManus.
In our letter of the 28th February 2011 we stated “The Association is also pleased that the EPA Inspector dealing with the WWDL application has vindicated our concerns about water quality in the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace which were made know for many years and on many occasions to all the relevant authorities dealing with the River Liffey.
Despite all the assurances to the contrary, the truth has finally emerged and the EPA Inspector tells us in her Report under the heading “Assimilative Capacity” that “At the design emission limit value (25 mg/l), there is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Table 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of BOD (6 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.
Also that “There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Tables 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of orthophosphate (0.203 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.”
Again, “There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile quality standard under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Table 3.0 shows that 95%ile concentration upstream of ammonia (0.99 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the primary discharge contribution.”
This is a terrible indictment of all the authorities operating on the upper Liffey. Despite publishing the Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment back in 1993 and the Three Rivers Project Report in 2002, the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace is still in breach of European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).”
Since the ESB granted a licence to Wicklow County Council to discharge the effluent of Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant into Golden Falls Lake just upstream of Ballymore Eustace it too bears some responsibility for the fact that the water quality in the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace Bridge (upstream of Ballymore Eustace sewage treatment plant) is in breach of the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Does ESB monitor and review the conditions set down in the discharge licence and does it receive the analytical results of the discharge and water quality in Golden Falls Lake on an ongoing and regular basis? ESB was also involved in the expansion of the Tulfarris Golf/Country Club/Village on Poulaphouca Reservoir and we are aware that the Tulfarris sewage plant discharge to Poulaphouca Reservoir also had problems in the past.
The Association, therefore, does not believe that ESB can now ignore the fact that the water quality in the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace Bridge is in breach of the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009) as if ESB played no role in bringing about this situation. This however, does not imply any criticism of ESB’s overall management or other activities on the Reservoirs.
Yours sincerely,
__________________________
Thomas Deegan,
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace,
Mr. Ray Earle,
Eastern River Basin Project Coordinator,
16th April 2011 Block 1, Floor 4
Civic Offices,
Wood Quay,
Dublin 8.
Dear Ray,
The above Association wishes to make the following observations on the letter dated 21st March 2011 from Mr. Adrian Conway in response to our letter to you and Mr. Tom Leahy dated 28th February 2011.
In our letter of the 28th February 2011 we said “The Association is also pleased that the EPA Inspector dealing with the WWDL application has vindicated our concerns about water quality in the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace which were made know for many years and on many occasions to all the relevant authorities dealing with the River Liffey. Despite all the assurances to the contrary, the truth has finally emerged and the EPA Inspector tells us in her Report under the heading “Assimilative Capacity” that “At the design emission limit value (25 mg/l), there is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Table 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of BOD (6 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.
Also that “There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Tables 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of orthophosphate (0.203 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.” Again, “There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile quality standard under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Table 3.0 shows that 95%ile concentration upstream of ammonia (0.99 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the primary discharge contribution.”
This is a terrible indictment of all the authorities operating on the upper Liffey. Despite publishing the Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment back in 1993 and the Three Rivers Project Report in 2002, the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace is still in breach of European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).”
In Mr. Conway’s letter, which appears to be using your report to him on the points raised in our letter, he states that “The Upper Liffey Report by the ERBD Office and Consultants CDM published in December 2009 concluded that there was no significant impact on waters arising from the small urban/village centres of Kilbride, Lacken, Ballyknockan and Valleymount.” This makes one wonder why other villages go to the trouble and expense of collecting and treating their sewage prior to discharge to water.
Also, it is my recollection that the Upper Liffey Report mentioned above, extended to the Liffey Bridge at Ballymore Eustace and again it makes one wonder why the fact that the water quality in the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace Bridge is “in breach of European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009)” was not highlighted. What is the point of these Reports if they don’t tell us in plain language when Regulations are being broken and in my opinion this casts doubts in the public mind about the testing carried out by the Mobile Monitoring Unit of the ERBD.
I would be obliged if you would let the Association know why it fell to the EPA Inspector to highlight the fact that the water quality in the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace Bridge is in beach of the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009) for a number of parameters?
Yours sincerely,
________________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer

Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare.
Ms. Grainne Oglesby,
29th December 2011
Programme Officer,
Environmental Licensing Programme,
EPA Headquarters, P.O. Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
WWDA Ref. No. D0063 – 01
Dear Ms. Oglesby,
With reference to the above waste water discharge application, the Association wishes to express our abhorrence at the Draft Licence issued by the ESB to Wicklow County Council in 1985 in respect of, what was then, a discharge from the proposed Blessington WWTP.
How could any responsible local authority and semi-state company agree to discharge treated sewage effluent from a potential population of 6000 people into a small reservoir without a guaranteed minimum dilution of the effluent? (See paragraph numbered 4 on third page of draft licence). The population Growth Estimate Target for Blessington (Moderate Growth Town) in the Wicklow County Development Plan 2010-2016 is 7,500 in the year 2022.
The EPA Inspector tells us in her Report dealing with the Ballymore Eustace WWDL and the River Liffey immediately downstream of Golden Falls Lake (D0238-01) under the heading “Assimilative Capacity” that “At the design emission limit value (25 mg/l), there is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Table 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of BOD (6 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution”.
Also that “There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Tables 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of orthophosphate (0.203 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.”
Again, “There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile quality standard under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009).
Table 3.0 shows that 95%ile concentration upstream of ammonia (0.99 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the primary discharge contribution.”
The discharge from Blessington WWTP should never have been allowed into Golden Falls Lake where a minimum dilution of the effluent cannot be guaranteed.
Also, how could Wicklow County Council make a financial commitment to construct the necessary infrastructure for the proposed Blessington WWTP knowing the ESB could terminate the Licence at only a months notice? (See paragraph numbered 5 on third page of draft licence) In the absence of any signed agreement between the ESB and Wicklow County Council, the Association would have to question if any such signed agreement exists.
The Association requests, from an environmental perspective and in the interest of natural justice, that the Environmental Protection Agency refuse a WWDL to Wicklow County Council to discharge effluent from Blessington WWTP into Golden Falls Lake where a minimum dilution of the effluent cannot be guaranteed and that an appropriate time table of withdrawal by Wicklow County Council be drawn up.
Yours sincerely,
________________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
BALLYMORE EUSTACE TROUT AND SALMON ANGLERS’ ASSOCIATION
Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. 29th May 2012
Mr. Bryan Doyle,
Director of Services,
Water and Environmental Services,
Wicklow County Council,
County Buildings,
Wicklow.
Re: Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant Discharge to Golden Falls Lake.
Dear Mr. Doyle,
Thank you for your letter dated 23rd May 2012 and enclosures.
It is most disappointing when professional people have to resort to personal attacks as their only line of defence. I have no interest in trying to denigrate Wicklow County Council. My only concern is for the water quality of the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare downstream of Golden Falls Lake/Reservoir. As stated in the Eastern River Basin District report titled “Programme of Measures Pilot Study – Upper Liffey” which you yourself quoted “historically, Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant has displayed elevated concentrations of nutrients.” Also, the EPA has in the past placed Golden Falls Lake in the Hypertropic Category i.e. a very high level of pollution. So, please get off you high horse and maybe address you criticisms at the man in the mirror. Monitoring alone never solved any problems as results have to be assessed and, if necessary, acted upon. I ask that Wicklow County Council stop acting ostrich like with regard to the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant discharge into Golden Falls Lake and work with the Association in trying to solve a perennial problem of algae growth destroying the aesthetic and recreational value of the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace.
When granting a WWDL to Kildare County Council for the proposed new WWTP at Ballymore Eustace, the EPA Inspector in her report dated 2nd February 2011 stated
“The results of the assimilative capacity calculations are summarised as follows:
(i) Biochemical Oxygen Demand
At the design emission limit value (25 mg/l), there is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Table 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of BOD (6 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution. However, the calculations in Table 3.0 indicate, for a notionally clean river, at an emission limit value of 25 mg/l BOD at 2,000 p.e., there would be adequate assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD, based on the 95%ile standard under S.I. 272 of 2009. The contribution from the primary discharge is only 0.13 mg/l BOD. Therefore, the effluent design standard of 25 mg/l BOD has been set as the emission limit value from 31 December 2012 in the RL.
(ii) Phosphorus
There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Tables 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of orthophosphate (0.203 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution. For a notionally clean river, at an emission limit value of 1 mg/l at 2,000 p.e., there would be adequate assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the 95%ile standard under S.I. 272 of 2009. The contribution from the primary discharge is very small, 0.005 mg/l orthophosphate. The RL sets an emission limit value of 2 mg/l for total phosphorus (the effluent design standard) and an emission limit value of 1 mg/l for orthophosphate from 3 1 December 2012.
Condition 5 of the RL requires the licensee to continually reduce total phosphorus emissions in the discharge.
(iii) Ammonia
There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile quality standard under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Table 3.0 shows that 95%ile concentration upstream of ammonia (0.99 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the primary discharge contribution.
For a notionally clean river and an emission limit value of 5 mg/l at 2,000 p.e., there would be adequate assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile standard under S.I. 272 of 2009. The contribution from the primary discharge is very small, 0.026 mg/l of ammonia. Accordingly, the RL set an emission limit value of 5 mg/l for ammonia from 31 December 2012 to ensure compliance with S.I. No. 272 of 2009.
Condition 5.1 of the RL requires the licensee to continually reduce ammonia emissions
Table 3.0 above highlights that other measures need to be put in place to reduce high background concentrations of BOD, orthophosphate and ammonia in the receiving waters upstream of the WWTP if the River Liffey is to achieve good stutus under the Water Framework Directive. It is not the role of the Wastewater Discharge Licence to address these other pollutant sources, it can only address the waste water discharges.”
I am aware that the above is based on background water quality data from January 2007 to February 2009 and that the Blessington WWTP was upgraded in 2007.
Because the problem shows up in County Kildare, maybe Wicklow County Council feels it doesn’t have to address “these other pollutant sources”, but the Association has no intention of letting matters rest until the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace is as near as is possible to pollution free. Looking at the monitoring results for Golden Falls Lake one thing sticks out like a sore thumb. There could be up to a tenfold increase in the ammonia concentration in Golden Falls Lake and the downstream samples in spring each year which coincides with the algae growth in the River Liffey.
Perhaps you can use your chemical knowledge and technical approach to convince me that this cannot be attributed to Blessington WWTP discharge into Golden Falls Lake and that it is merely a coincidence that it coincides with the algae growth in the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace each year. Even better, maybe something can be done to reduce the ammonia concentrations in the Golden Falls Lake.
My understanding is that for ammonia the EQS for Surface Waters is 0.02 mg/l. The limit for the non-ionised form of ammonia under the Freshwater Fish Directive is 0.025 mg/l while the limit for non-ionised ammonia under the Salmonid Waters Regulations is 0.02 mg/l.
I include below a graph of the ammonia results from Golden Falls to illustrate and highlight the situation.
Yours sincerely,
_______________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas
, Administration, Ballymore Eustace,
Environmental Licensing Programme, Co. Kildare.
Office of Climate, Licensing & Resource Use, 30th May 2012
Environmental Protection Agency,
Headquarters,
P.O. Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate.
Co. Wexford.
Waste Waster Discharge Licence Application Register No: D0063-01
Dear Sir/Madam,
The above Association recently received a copy of the monitoring results of Golden Falls Lake from Wicklow County Council for the period February 2011 – March 2012. It is obvious from the results that there is an increase in the concentration of ammonia in the Golden Falls Lake and downstream samples in the Spring of the year which coincides with the perennial problem of algae growth in the Liffey.
I have included a graph (with notes) to illustrate the occurrence.
The above Association respectfully requests the EPA to take this into account when processing the above Waste Water Discharge Licence Application.
Yours sincerely,
_____________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Graph did not copy.
Graph for illustration purposes only as graph will only accept definite figures (not <0.03 mg/l)
All ammonia monitoring results recorded as <0.03 mg/l have been given a value of 0.02 mg/l
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. 19th June 2012
Ms. Laura Burke,
Director General EPA
Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters,
P.O. Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
Waste Waster Discharge Licence Applications Reg. No: D0063-01 & Reg. No. D0238-01
Agglomerations named Blessington, Co. Wicklow and Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare.
Dear Director General,
The EPA has issued Waste Water Discharge Licenses for the agglomerations named Blessington, Co. Wicklow (Reg. No. D0063-01) and Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare (Reg. No. D0238-01). For the most part, the above Association is well satisfied with the conditions of the licenses and are delighted that the monitoring data from the Blessington discharge must be presented in graphical format in the Data Management System.
We are, however, totally and utterly confused by what appears to us to be two conflicting EPA Inspectors Reports on the water quality in the receiving water of the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace.
Blessington WWTP discharges into Golden Falls Lake which is in Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare just upstream of Ballymore Eustace village. We do not agree with the Inspector that the discharge is into a “short section of river between Poulaphouca Reservoir and Golden Falls Lake”. This is the first time it has been described as such and gives a misleading impression of a running river at the point of discharge. In fact, the water level in Golden Falls Lake/Reservoir must be lowered to the original river level to reach the point of discharge.
Also, the Inspector has misinterpreted Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936 when he states “Compensation water must be provided from the reservoir to allow some water to continue to flow in the river downstream. Sufficient water must be let through to maintain the fish and wildlife that use the river, and the natural vegetation in and around it. This ensures that a suitable constant flow shall be available in the receiving water to provide the dilution for final effluent discharged at SW001.” In a letter dated 24th March 1986 to Mr. Alan Dukes T.D. Minister for Justice, Mr. Kevin O’Donnell, Dublin Chief Engineer, states “Dear Mr. Dukes,
With reference to the query in your letter of 6th instant to the City Manager, the rights and duties of the Electricity Supply Board and the Corporation are covered by various provisions in the Liffey Reservoir Act, 1936. The Act guarantees to the Corporation, the absolute right to a draw of 20 million gallons daily while the level is above a specific minimum level. The Board has an absolute right to use the water as it pleases while the level is above the specified minimum level, and this would include the right not to discharge any water if that suited the Board’s purposes. Below the statutory minimum level, the Board may not use the water for generation purposes but may, at its own discretion discharge up to 1.5m3 of water per second, averaged over the week. There is, therefore, no statutory minimum flow that must issue from the reservoir.”---
Mr. O’Donnell goes on to say and I agree, that historically the ESB has released 1.5 m3 /sec to the Liffey when not generating, but they do so at their own discretion. Dublin City Council now abstract 70 million gallons of water per day from Poulaphouca Reservoir.
The Inspector dealing with the Blessington discharge in section 8, page 7 of his report states under the heading European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations 2009, S.I. No. 272 of 2009 “The water quality downstream of the WWTP shows that the River Liffey complies with the water quality standards for BOD, ammonia and orthophosphate stipulated in S.I. 272 of 2009. It is considered that the primary discharge is not adversely impacting the chemical water quality of the receiving water.” This despite the fact that my submission dated 30th May 2012 using Wicklow County Council monitoring results, shows, in graphical format, the ammonia concentration in Golden Falls Lake for the month of March 2012 at 0.17 mg/l N i.e. in breach of S.I. 272 of 2009. To allow the Blessington WWTP discharge to raise the ammonia level in the receiving water by 0.084 mg/l N seems excessive given that the Ballymore Eustace WWTP will also discharge a short distance downstream of Golden Falls Lake.
Also, while I agree that the River Liffey is not designated as salmonid waters, the Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment under the heading Water Quality Criteria states “68. In order to provide a general measure of protection for all beneficial uses, the Plan specifies the water quality criteria applicable to salmonid fish as the basis for the establishment of water quality standards.”
When granting a WWDL to Kildare County Council for the proposed new WWTP at Ballymore Eustace, the EPA Inspector in her report dated 2nd February 2011 stated
“The results of the assimilative capacity calculations are summarised as follows:
(i) Biochemical Oxygen Demand
At the design emission limit value (25 mg/l), there is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Table 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of BOD (6 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.
However, the calculations in Table 3.0 indicate, for a notionally clean river, at an emission limit value of 25 mg/l BOD at 2,000 p.e., there would be adequate assimilative capacity in the receiving water for BOD, based on the 95%ile standard under S.I. 272 of 2009. The contribution from the primary discharge is only 0.13 mg/l BOD. Therefore, the effluent design standard of 25 mg/l BOD has been set as the emission limit value from 31 December 2012 in the RL.
(ii) Phosphorus
There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the quality standards under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Tables 3.0 highlights that the 95%ile upstream concentration of orthophosphate (0.203 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the WWTP discharge contribution.
For a notionally clean river, at an emission limit value of 1 mg/l at 2,000 p.e., there would be adequate assimilative capacity in the receiving water for orthophosphate based on the 95%ile standard under S.I. 272 of 2009. The contribution from the primary discharge is very small, 0.005 mg/l orthophosphate. The RL sets an emission limit value of 2 mg/l for total phosphorus (the effluent design standard) and an emission limit value of 1 mg/l for orthophosphate from 3 1 December 2012.
Condition 5 of the RL requires the licensee to continually reduce total phosphorus emissions in the discharge.
(iii) Ammonia
There is no assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile quality standard under the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009, (S.I. No. 272 of 2009). Table 3.0 shows that 95%ile concentration upstream of ammonia (0.99 mg/l) is already in breach of S.I. No. 272 of 2009 before consideration of the primary discharge contribution.
For a notionally clean river and an emission limit value of 5 mg/l at 2,000 p.e., there would be adequate assimilative capacity in the receiving water for ammonia based on the 95%ile standard under S.I. 272 of 2009. The contribution from the primary discharge is very small, 0.026 mg/l of ammonia. Accordingly, the RL set an emission limit value of 5 mg/l for ammonia from 31 December 2012 to ensure compliance with S.I. No. 272 of 2009.
Condition 5.1 of the RL requires the licensee to continually reduce ammonia emissions.
Table 3.0 above highlights that other measures need to be put in place to reduce high background concentrations of BOD, orthophosphate and ammonia in the receiving waters upstream of the WWTP if the River Liffey is to achieve good status under the Water Framework Directive. It is not the role of the Wastewater Discharge Licence to address these other pollutant sources, it can only address the waste water discharges.”
Following the granting of the WWDL to Kildare County Council I mentioned in a letter dated 28th February 2011 to the EPA Office of Climate Change, Licensing and Resource Use that this was a terrible indictment of all the Authorities operating on the upper Liffey, but the Inspector dealing with the Blessington WWDA does not even warrant it a mention.
Using the data for ammonia in Table 3.1 of the two Inspectors Reports it appears to me that the EPA has now licensed two point discharges that will take the ammonia concentration in the upper Liffey at Ballymore Eustace to a level in breach of S.I. 272 of 2009. (i.e. Background concentration 0.037mg/l, plus contribution from Blessington WWTP 0.084 mg/l, plus contribution from Ballymore Eustace WWTP 0.026 mg/l bringing the concentration up to 0.0.147mg/l) How is the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace to achieve ‘good status’ by 2021?
I also feel aggrieved that correspondence addressed to me from Wicklow County Council and copied to the EPA was not put up on the EPA website. As I was not informed by Wicklow County Council that they were copying the correspondence to the EPA, this would have allowed me to send a copy my response to the EPA. For what it’s worth, I have enclosed a copy of my response to Wicklow County Council dated 29th May 2012.
I respectfully ask that the EPA explain what to me are two conflicting Inspector’s Reports on the water quality of the River Liffey at Ballymore Eustace and reduce the ELV for ammonia in the Blessington WWTP discharge. There is also a need to correct the misleading information in the Inspector’s Report.
Yours sincerely,
_____________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Encl.

Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare. 4th July 2012
Administration,
Environmental Licensing Programme,
Office of Climate, Licensing & Resource Use,
Environmental Protection Agency,
Headquarters,
P.O. Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate.
Co. Wexford.
Waste Waster Discharge Licence Application Register No: D0063-01
Dear Sir/Madam,
I feel aggrieved that correspondence dated 23rd May 2012 addressed to me from Wicklow County Council along with emails which were copied to the EPA were not put up on the EPA website in a timely fashion. As I was not informed by Wicklow County Council that they were copying the correspondence to the EPA, this prevented me sending a copy of my response to the EPA in time for it to be taken into account before the Inspector submitted his report.
For what it’s now worth, I enclose a copy of my response to Wicklow County Council dated 29th May 2012 which I hope will also be put on the website.
Yours sincerely,
_____________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
3rd September 2012
Mr. Tom O’Reilly,
Office of Director General
Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters
, P.O. Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
Waste Waster Discharge Licence Applications Reg. No: D0063-01 & Reg. No. D0238-01
Agglomerations named Blessington, Co. Wicklow and Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare.
Dear Mr. O’Reilly,
Thank you for your acknowledgement of my letter dated 27th August 2012 and the attached copy of acknowledgement dated 20th June of my letter dated 19th June 2012.
I don’t know what happened but I did not previously receive the acknowledgement dated 20th June 2012.
Thanking you.
Yours sincerely,
_____________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
27th August 2012
Ms. Laura Burke,
Director General EPA
Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters,
P.O. Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
Waste Waster Discharge Licence Applications Reg. No: D0063-01 & Reg. No. D0238-01
Agglomerations named Blessington, Co. Wicklow and Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare.
Dear Director General,
With reference to my letter dated 19th June 2012 on behalf of the above Association, I am extremely disappointed that despite the EPA’s Customer Charter, no acknowledgement or reply to my letter has been received. Also, a letter dated 4th July 2012 to Administration, Environmental Licensing Programme, Office of Climate Change, Licensing and Resource Use, has not been acknowledged or a reply received.
(Extract from EPA Customer Charter Service by correspondence:
If you make enquiries by letter, fax or e-mail, we will:
➤➤ respond to you in your preferred format (e.g. letter, fax, e-mail and telephone) no later than 5 working days from receipt of the enquiry or within 20 working days in the case of an enquiry which is particularly complex
➤➤ contact and inform you when you can expect a full reply if we cannot meet these time frames
➤➤ use clear language as deemed appropriate to the recipient and explain any “unfamiliar” technical terms on request
➤➤ ensure that all our correspondence contains a contact name, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address
➤➤ ensure that automated out of the office email replies are updated regularly by staff
➤➤ if your correspondence relates to a matter that comes within the remit of another public body, we will endeavour to direct the correspondence to that body and inform you accordingly)
In my letter of the 19th June 2012 to you I mentioned that in dealing with Waste Water Discharge Applications for the agglomerations named Blessington, Co. Wicklow (Reg. No. D0063-01) and Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare (Reg. No. D0238-01) the EPA issued what appeared to my Association to be two conflicting EPA Inspector’s Reports on the water quality in the receiving water of the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace. Blessington WWTP discharges into Golden Falls Lake which is in Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare just upstream of Ballymore Eustace village.
Since our letter to you, the Association has now received the following very disturbing explanation for the two conflicting Inspector’s Reports on the water quality in the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace.
“The data used by the EPA in the Assimilative Capacity Report referenced by the Anglers’ Association was from urban waste water returns (upstream and downstream of Ballymore Eustace Waste Water Treatment Discharge). It is the Council’s understanding that this data was generated from staff in the local Waste Water Treatment Plant using basic equipment. The Council would feel that this data should not have been used by the E.P.A. in their report considering that there were existing National Monitoring Stations upstream and downstream for which reliable data is available. The data from these stations and the results are far more reliable (see attachment) and compare well with the County Council data below the Golden Falls dam for the same period. There were a number of outlying results which caused averages to elevate but the results from 2007-2009 confirmed good physiochemical status at Ballymore Bridge. 2. The Council notes that the EPA were quoting 95% results (highest 5% of results) in their report and not average results i.e. extreme rather than normal situation. Even accounting for this the EPA report figures are multiples of ten times higher than our results for the same period (see comparison of data attached).
3. The County Council is stating that the complaint would appear to be unfounded based on the National River Monitoring Data and Wicklow County Council Golden Falls Monitoring Data for the period 2007-2009 and also based on current data from 2011. The data shows from Golden Falls monitoring and Kildare National River Monitoring that there is a assimilative capacity for the current set up at Blessington. The ammonia concentrations are close to the limits and peaks have been experienced in the early part of this year. With regard to the limit for (un-ionised) ammonia, I wish to point out the Council does not analyse unionised ammonia. The Council is not required to do so under the Water Framework Directive. The Council is measuring and quoting the sum of both forms of ammonia (unionised and ionised) referred to as total ammoniacal nitrogen by the EPA. The limit for Good Status in the S.I. 272/2009 for total ammoniacal nitrogen are average = 0.065 mg/l N, 95% = 0.14 mg/l N. Statistical data supplied shows the station monitored by Wicklow County Council downstream of Golden Falls is compliant with this limit as far as 2011 (data attached).”
Following the granting of the WWDL to Kildare County Council (Reg. No. D0238-01) for Ballymore Eustace, I mentioned in a letter dated 28th February 2011 addressed to Administration, EPA Office of Climate Change, Licensing and Resource Use (copied to the other relevant Authorities) that the assimilative capacity data quoted in the Inspector’s Report was a terrible indictment of all the Authorities operating on the upper Liffey, but apart from an acknowledgement no reply was received from the EPA.
Can the EPA now confirm that the data used by the EPA for Assimilative Capacity in the Kildare County Council Waste Water Discharge Application for the agglomeration named Ballymore Eustace should not have been used and that this explains the two conflicting EPA Inspector’s Reports on water quality in the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace.
Yours sincerely,
_____________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Environmental Protection Agency
An Ghnionifimreacht um Chaomhnu Comhshaoil
Headquarters, PO Box 3000
Johnstown Castle Estate
County Wexford, Ireland
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer
Ballmore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers' Association
Broadleas
Ballymore Eustace
Co. Kildare
19 September 2012
Our Ref: Waste Water Discharge Licences D0063-01 Blessington and D0238-01Ballymore Eustace
Dear Mr. Deegan
I refer to your letters dated 19 June 2012 and 27 August 2012, received on 20 June2012 and 28 August 2012 respectively in relation to the Waste Water Discharge (WWD) licences reference numbers D0238-01, agglomeration named Ballymore Eustace (licensed 17 February 2012) and D0063-01, agglomeration named Blessington (licensed on 12 June 2012). The Agency notes that both letters wereacknowledged on 20 June 2012 and 31 August 2012 respectively. However, I do apologise for our delay in responding to your letter of the 19 June 2012. In order toprovide you with a detailed response to your letter it was necessary to liaise with anumber of people within the Agency. This unfortunately led to the delay during aparticularly busy period and the customary annual leave period.
The Agency welcomes the statement that Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers' Association "for the most part is well satisfied with the conditions of the licences", the following will address the confusion caused for your association andwhat appears to you to be conflicting EPA Inspector Reports.
Prior to the issue of waste water discharge licences, all discharges from waste water treatment plants (WWTP), including Ballymore Eustace WWTP and Blessington
WWTP, had to comply with the Urban Waste Water (UWWT) Regulations, 2001 (S.I.No. 254 of 2001 and amendments), which transposed the Urban Waste Water Treatment Plant Directive (91/271/EEC). All agglomerations have been required to submit WWD licence applications to the EPA, in accordance with the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007, as amended.The population equivalent (p.e.) of the Ballymore Eustace agglomeration (estimated to be 1,509 in 2008) is below the 2,000 p.e., threshold where emission limit valuesare required under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Plant Regulation. However,'appropriate treatment' is required for agglomerations less than 2,000 p.e., asspecified in Article 7 of the UWWT Regulations 2001. The term 'appropriate treatment'is defined in the UWWT Regulations in terms of the level of treatment necessary toprotect water quality. It is acknowledged in the Inspector's Report that there iseffectively no treatment of the waste water from the Ballymore Eustace WWTP.
Therefore, the WWD licence requires that the proposed WWTP be completed by the 31 December 2012 and the emission limit values (BOD of 25 mg/1, ammonia of 5 mg/1and orthophosphate of 1 mg/1) shall apply form 31 December 2012.
The Blessington agglomeration p.e., is greater than 2,000, (estimated current loading of 4,570) and therefore the emission limits specified for such discharges under the UWWT Regulations apply (i.e., BOD 25mg/l, COD 125mg/l and 35mg/l suspended solids).
The WWD licences for the two agglomerations set stricter emission limit values when compared to the Urban Waste Water Regulations. The more strict limits are set on the basis of the 'combined approach’(1) which is required under the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations 2007, as amended. Therefore improvements inthe primary discharges from both agglomerations are required.
The following ten points address the number of concerns raised in your letter:
1. Discharge Point from Blessington Agglomeration
The grid reference for the final effluent discharge point, as submitted by the applicant, puts the point of discharge in a short (~1.5 km) narrows that links the Poulaphouca Dam with Golden Falls Lake. The assessment is based on theflow from the Poulaphouca Dam and Golden Falls Lake. In addition, the 'Watermaps' mapping system on the Water Framework Directive website(www.wfdireland.ie) sets the boundary of Golden Falls Lake (WFD code: IE_EA_09_53) as starting approximately 500 metres downstream of the primary discharge point. The same mapping system identifies the short section of river between the Poulaphouca Reservoir and Golden Falls Lake as being the lower River Liffey (WFD code IE_EA_09_1870_1).
2. Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936
Part 6 of the Schedule states ' The Board [ESB] shall at all times (includingtimes at which the level of the water in the Reservoir is below low water level as hereinafter defined) be at liberty to discharge water from the Reservoir in such manner as the Board may think fit..... as flow for compensation (hereinafter referred to as "compensation water") as compensation water to the river downstream of the dam.
In the Inspector's Report, the provisions of the Act are explained as a means of further proving the ability of the River Liffey to assimilate the discharge.
The Inspector's Report states: 'The flow of water in the river at SW001 is subject to variability depending on the factors outlined above however it is anticipated that the flow will not be reduced to a level to cause any significant concern as the DWF volume through the dam is similar to the 95%ile flow of 1.53m3/s. This is due to the fact that Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey
(1)The Waste Water Discharge Authorisation Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 684 of 2007), as amended, specify that a 'combined approach' in relation to licensing of waste water works must be taken, whereby the emission limits for the discharge are established on the basis of the stricter of either or both, the limits and controls required under the Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations (S.I. No. 254 of 2001 and amendments) and the limits determined under statute or Directive for the purpose of achieving the environmental objectives established for surface waters, groundwater or protected areas for the water body into which the discharge is made.
Historical EPA monitoring data calculates the 95%ile flow in the river at the hydrometric monitoring station no. 09032 (approximately 250 m upstream of the primary discharge point) is 1.53m3/s
3. Water Quality downstream of the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) discharge and the specified ammonia emission limit value
Historical monitoring data submitted by Wicklow County Council in support of their waste water discharge licence application for the Blessington agglomeration (Reg. No. D0063-01) demonstrates that the ammonia concentrations in the receiving water (Golden Falls Lake) are in compliance with the European Communities Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations, 2009 (S.I. No. 272 of 2009) (herein referred to as the Surface Water Regulations). In your letter you refer to a monitoring result for Golden Falls Lake for ammonia (0.17mg/l) in March 2012. One monitoring sample result is not representative of the quality of a waterbody and compliance with the Surface Water Regulations is not based on just one result, the environmental quality standards are based on arithmetic mean and 95 percentile of monitoring results. The submission on the Blessington licence application, dated 30th May 2012, was considered by the Agency prior to the issue of the WWD licence (page 10 and 11 of the inspector's report).
The WWD licence for the Blessington agglomeration, issued on 12 June 2012, also sets an emission limit value for ammonia of 5mg/l on the primary discharge which is considered sufficient to contribute towards continued compliance in the receiving water with the standards set in the Surface Water Regulations.
4. The Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment
The Environmental Quality Standards set in the Surface Water Regulations are the applicable standards for the River Liffey and for most parameters are more stringent than the European Communities (Quality of Salmonid Waters) Regulations 1998 (S.I. No. 293 of 1988) which only apply to salmonid waters.
It should be noted that the River Liffey is not a salmonid water. The Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment was adopted in 1997 and therefore it predates the publication of the Surface Water Regulations. The emission limit values set in the Blessington licence have been determined with a view to ensuring compliance with the Surface Water Regulations and the 'combined approach' specified in the Waste Water Discharge (Authorisation) Regulations.
5. Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Angler's Association letter dated 28/02/11
A letter, dated 28/02/2011, was received following the granting of the WWD licence for Ballymore Eustace (Reg. No. D0238-01), which was acknowledged by the EPA in a letter dated 10 May 2011. This letter is in relation to the Ballymore Eustace WWD licence application and was therefore not considered as a submission in relation to the Blessington WWD licence application. Therefore, it was not referred to in the Blessington Inspector's report. The Office of Licencing Research and Resource Use will assess and provide a detailed response to this letter in due course.
The background concentrations of BOD, orthophosphate and ammoniaupstream of Blessington's primary discharge point are compliant with the Surface Water Regulations. The inspector's report for Blessington states that "monitoring results submitted by the applicant have demonstrated that the quality of the receiving waters in Golden Falls Lake is within the prescribed quality standards set out in the Surface Water Regulations for BOD, MRP and total ammonia." Golden Falls Lake has been categorised as being moderate status by the Eastern River Basin District (ERBD). According to the ERBD River Basin Management Plan, 2009-2015 the reasons for the lake only achieving moderate status is for excessive chlorophyll production caused by the presence of elevated levels of phosphorous in the water. According to the ERBD, the presence of elevated phosphorous levels is thought to come from a combination of agricultural sources and from planning and development.
According to the inspector's report for Blessington the WWTP discharge is not considered to be a cause of significant deterioration in water quality in Golden Falls Lake. The Blessington WWD licence sets emission limit values for BOD, orthophosphate and ammonia which contribute towards compliance with the Surface Water Regulations.
6. Ammonia concentration in the River Liffey
According to the Blessington inspector's report, Reg, No. D0063-01, the water quality downstream of the WWTP discharge shows that the River Liffey complies with the water quality standards for BOD, orthophosphate and ammonia stipulated in the Surface Water Regulations. The inspector's report states that "ft is considered that the primary discharge is not adversely impacting the water quality of the receiving water." The Blessington inspector's report demonstrates that at the point of discharge there issufficient assimilative capacity in the receiving water for the primary discharge. Therefore an emission limit value of 5 mg/1 for ammonia was set in the WWDlicence to contribute towards compliance with the Surface Water Regulations.
It is noted that the Ballymore Eustace (Reg. No. D0238-01) primary discharge point is located approximately 2.6 km downstream of Blessington's (Reg. No.D0063-01) primary discharge point. The upstream and downstream monitoring data submitted with the Ballymore Eustace WWDL application indicates thatthe River Liffey at these points does not comply with the Surface Water Regulations. Ambient monitoring provided as part of Ballymore Eustace WWDL application indicates that there is no significant difference between the water quality upstream and downstream for ammonia.
However, it is considered that as a result of the installation of the proposed WWTP (due to be completed by 31 December 2012) and compliance with theemission limit value for ammonia of 5mg/l (which applies from 31 December 2012) set in the WWD licence the increase in concentration of ammonia is likely to be very small (contribution of 0.026 mg/1 ammonia from the primary discharge). There is also significant dilution provided in the receiving water at 95 percentile flow rates (approximately 191 dilutions). The above shall contribute towards compliance with the Surface Water Regulations.
The ERBD River Management Plan 2009 - 2015 identifies that an upgrade of Ballymore Eustace WWTP is required if the target date (2021) for good statusis to be achieved. Measures specified in the ERBD - Programme of Measures (2009-2015) for the Liffey Water Management Unit identifies measures toprotect and restore water status by addressing the main pressures such as waste water/industrial discharges, agriculture, landfill and forestry.
7. Availability on the EPA website of the letter from Wicklow County Council to the Ballymore Eustace Trout & Salmon Angler's Association.
The letter from Wicklow County Council to Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Angler's Association dated 23 May 2012, was received by the Agency on 24 May 2012 and is available to view on the EPA website at the following link: http://www.epa.ie/licences/lic eDMS/090151b280442449.pdf. The letter was scanned to the EPA website on 31 May 2012, as per the date stamp on the letter.
8. Misleading information in the Inspector's reports
It should be noted that the inspector's reports are not legal documents and are for information purposes only. The WWD licence is the legal document which authorises the discharge of waste water from the waste water works subject to a number of conditions. It is acknowledged in both reports, that the biological quality of the River LIffey is Q3-4 at the EPA monitoring station 09L010400 (downstream of Blessington's WWTP primary discharge point and upstream of the existing Ballymore Eustace WWTP primary discharge). Both reports state that the Water Framework Directive status of the River Liffey is moderate and is required to achieve 'good' status by 2021. Ballymore Eustace primary discharge point is located approximately 2.6 km downstream of Blessington's primary discharge point. The upstream and downstream monitoring data submitted with the application for the Blessington WWDL indicates that the River Liffey complies with theEnvironmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations 2009. However, the upstream monitoring data (approximately 110m upstream of the primary discharge point) submitted with the Ballymore Eustace WWDL application indicates that the River Liffey at this point does not comply with the Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations 2009. The licences for Blessington and Ballymore Eustace WWDL's, set emission limit values, with the aim of contributing towards achieving good water quality status by 2021. Other measures need to be put in place for the river to achieve 'good' water quality status, such as the measures specified in theEastern River Basin Management Plan (2009 - 2015). There are a number of sources, such as other waste water/industrial discharges, agriculture, landfill and forestry, which may be contributing to the reduced water quality in theRiver Liffey between upstream of Blessington's primary discharge and downstream of Ballymore Eustace primary discharge. It is not possible for the waste water discharge licences to address these other pollutant sources.
Both the Blessington and Ballymore Eustace WWDL's set emission limit value with the aim of contributing towards compliance with the Surface Water Regulations in the River Liffey.
One of the Eastern River Basin District (2009-2015) objectives for the Liffey is to restore the Liffey to good status by 2021. The Eastern River Basin Management Plan (2009-2015) (available to download on the Water Framework Directive website: www.wfdireland.ie) identifies measures to protect and restore water status by addressing the main pressures (that is sources of pollution or status impact) in the district.
9. Request to reduce the emission limit value set for ammonia in theBlessington WWDL
The Agency considers that the emission limit value set for ammonia (5mg/l) for the Blessington primary discharge is sufficient to ensure continued compliance in the receiving water with the standard for ammonia in the Surface Water Regulations.
10.Ballymore Eustace Monitoring data
The application was assessed based on monitoring data provided by Kildare County Council and EPA monitoring data. The assessment of the application is described in the inspector's report. The Agency considers that compliance with the requirements of the waste waterdischarge licences and the implementation of the other measures identified in the Eastern River Basin Management Plan (2009-2015) should contribute towards improvement of the status of the River Liffey to 'Good' by 2021. If you have further concerns in relation to the discharges from the Blessington and Ballymore Eustace WWTP's, please contact the EPA's Office of Environmental Enforcement, who are responsible for the enforcement of the WWDL's, on 053-9160600.
Yours sincerely,
Frank Clinton
Programme Manager
Environmental Licensing Programme

Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
Broadleas,
Ballymore Eustace,
Co. Kildare.
28th September 2012

Mr. Frank Clinton,
Programme Manager,
Environmental Licensing Programme,
EPA Headquarters,
PO Box 3000,
Johnstown Castle Estate,
Co. Wexford.
Ref: Waste Water Discharge Licences D0063-01 Blessington and D0238-01 Ballymore Eustace
Dear Mr. Clinton,
Thank you for your letter dated 19th September 2012 in response to mine dated 19th June 2012 and 27th August 2012 addressed to the Director General EPA.
Again, I must say that I did not receive any acknowledgement to my letter dated 19th June 2012 until it was enclosed with the acknowledgement to my letter of the 27th August 2012.
Kildare County Council expect to start work on the new Ballymore Eustace pumping station and Waste Water Treatment Plant shortly, but it remains to be seen if it will be completed by the 31st December 2012 as required by the Waste Water Discharge Licence (D0238-01). However, we look forward to the new plant replacing the present dilapidated, obnoxious plant that is creating a sewage fungus on one side of the Liffey downstream of the discharge point at The Strand, Ballymore Eustace. The new plant will discharge further downstream at Susheen, Ballymore Eustace. I wish to make the following comments in relation to your ten point reply to our concerns as expressed in the above mentioned letters.
1. Discharge Point from Blessington Agglomeration.
Wicklow County Council sought permission in 1985 from Kildare County Council to construct an ‘outfall pressure pipe’ the “intended termini thereof are Blessington in the North and Golden Falls Lake in the South.” in order that they could discharge the effluent from Blessington WWTP into Golden Falls Lake. In their application for a Waste Water Discharge Licence, Wicklow County Council states “Sewage generated in the Blessington Agglomeration is collected and conveyed to the Waste Water Treatment Plant at Blessington where it undergoes secondary treatment before being discharged to the Golden Fall Lake.”
Golden Falls Lake was lowered to the original River Liffey level by the ESB to facilitate the laying of the discharge outlet. To this day Golden Falls Lake must be lowered to the original river level to access the discharge point.
The Gorge that links Poulaphouca Dam to Golden Falls Lake/Reservoir (i.e. over the old, now redundant Poulaphouca Waterfall and under Nimmo’s Bridge) was part of the River Liffey prior to the Liffey Hydro Electric Scheme of the early 1940’s. Today, the only flow in this section is what leaks through the Poulaphouca Dam and some minor springs. The water feeding Golden Falls Lake now comes through the Penstocks at Poulaphouca Dam, through Poulaphouca Power Station and then into Golden Falls Lake. Obviously, local knowledge from Wicklow County Council and others that Blessington WWTP discharges into Golden Falls Lake wasn’t good enough for the Inspector dealing with the WWDL for Blessington. The fact that someone got it wrong and put the Blessington WWTP discharge point presumably in the pre Liffey Scheme section of the Liffey and put this information on a map on a website does not mean that it is correct. Websites are only as good as the information they are fed. Recently, a map on a website placed Dublin Zoo in Temple Bar and an Airport in Stillorgan but that didn’t make it right. Perhaps the EPA can use its influence to have the discharge point from Blessington WWTP correctly placed in Golden Falls Lake.
2. Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936
While you quote a section of Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936, you go on then to quote from the Inspector’s Report which misinterprets the Act when it states “---This is due to the fact that Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936 requires the ESB to release ‘compensation water’ up to 1.5m3/s when the level in Poulaphouca Reservoir is below ‘low water level’. The Act does not require the Board to do any such thing. The Act states that the Board may as it sees fit release compensation water up to 1.5m3/s. As explained by Mr. Kevin O’Donnell Dublin Chief Engineer, Engineering Services, in a letter dated 24th March 1986 to Mr. Alan Dukes T.D. Minister for Justice, “The Board has an absolute right to use the water as it pleases while the level is above the specified minimum level, and this would include the right not to discharge any water if that suited the Board’s purposes.
Below the statutory minimum level, the Board may not use the water for generation purposes but may, at its own discretion discharge up to 1.5m3 of water per second, averaged over the week. There is, therefore, no statutory minimum flow that must issue from the reservoir.” Since the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936 has never been amended this is still the case even though the ‘powers that be’ don’t want to admit it and continuously quote 95%ile flows. The flow of the Liffey was closed down completely for about two and a half hours on the 9th April 2009 when a fault closed down the discharge valve to the Liffey at Golden Falls Dam/Power Station. This is quite legitimate under Part 6 of the Schedule to the Liffey Reservoir Act 1936. To their credit, following representation from the Anglers’ Association, the ESB agreed to install a fail safe system. (my bold and italics above)
3. Water Quality Downstream of the Blessington Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP) discharge and the specified ammonia limit value
We are very disappointed with how easily the EPA can dismiss what could be the significance of a monthly sample. As the ammonia graph which we submitted (letter 30th May 2012) shows an increase in the ammonia concentration from January 2012 to February 2012 and again to March 2012 the concentration recorded for March may indeed represent the ammonia concentration in Golden Falls for almost two months (until the next sample was taken in April) or one sixth of the year and should not be dismissed out of hand even if it is only one sample. We are also disappointed that the WWDL for Blessington now extends the sampling frequency out to quarterly samples which means that many ‘events’ will now be missed.
In our letter dated 19th June 2012 we were expressing our anger and frustration that each year the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace becomes almost unfishable because of algae growth in the River at the start of the angling season in March/April. (The algae fouls up the flies used by the anglers.) When we received the analytical results for Golden Falls from Wicklow County Council for 2011 and early 2012, it was obvious to us that the ammonia concentration in Golden Falls Lake and the Liffey rose at the same time as the algae growth appeared. We graphed the results to highlight our concern. We were hoping that the EPA might apply their expertise to establish if there was a correlation between the two. Unfortunately for us and the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace the EPA appears to have dismissed it out of hand because the water quality is in compliance with the Surface Water Regulations, 2009. Even Wicklow County Council admits that “The ammonia concentrations are close to the limits and peaks have been experienced in the early part of this year.”
4. The Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment
From about 1985 until it was adopted in 1997 anglers were led to believe that the Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment would solve all our problems. In it we were reliably informed that even though the Liffey was not a designated ‘salmonid’ river it would be treated as a ‘salmonid’ river with regard to water quality standards. Now we are informed that it was superceded in 2009 by the Surface Water Regulations so the Water Quality Management Plan for the Liffey Catchment is not now worth the paper its written on. What a waste of time and effort by all who contributed to the Plan. Will the same faith happen to the Eastern River Basin Management Plan?
5. Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association letter dated 28/02/11
We thank the EPA for the reply dated 25th September 2012 and received on 26th Sept.
6. Ammonia concentration in the River Liffey
See 3. above.
7. Availability on the EPA website of the letter from Wicklow County Council to the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association
I genuinely did not see this letter on the EPA website prior to the issuing of the Blessington WWDL even though I was keeping in constant touch with the website at that time. I only noticed it on the website after my letter dated 19th June 2012 to the Director General.
8. Misleading information in the Inspector’s reports
See 1. and 3. above
Also, we do not see how “The upstream and downstream monitoring data submitted with the application for the Blessington WWDL indicates that the River Liffey complies with the Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations” and that “the upstream monitoring data (approximately 110m upstream of the primary discharge point) submitted with the Ballymore Eustace WWDL application indicates that the River Liffey at this point does not comply with the Environmental Objectives (Surface Water) Regulations 2009.” There are only a few hundred metres between Golden Falls Power Station and Ballymore Eustace Liffey Bridge. The only major discharge into the Liffey between these two points is from Dublin City Council’s Water Treatment Plant which to our knowledge does not contain either phosphates or ammonia and has been investigated by the EPA in the past. (EPA Office of Environmental Enforcement Site Investigation Report dated 24th July 2006). Our concern about Dublin City Council’s discharge relates to Aluminium, Polyelectrolyte (FLOPAM 4140P supplied by Chemifloc Ltd.) and Suspended Solids.
9. Request to reduce the emission limit value set for ammonia in the Blessington WWDL.
See 3 above.
10. Ballymore Eustace Monitoring Data
We do not feel the reply given adequately explains the difference in water quality expressed in the Inspector’s Report for the Blessington WWDL and the Inspector’s Report for the Ballymore Eustace WWDL. Neither does it answer Wicklow County Council’s claim that “The data used by the EPA in the Assimilative Capacity Report referenced by the Anglers’ Association was from urban waste water returns (upstream and downstream of Ballymore Eustace Waste Water Treatment Discharge). It is the Council’s understanding that this data was generated from staff in the local Waste Water Treatment Plant using basic equipment. The Council would feel that this data should not have been used by the E.P.A. in their report considering that there were existing National Monitoring Stations upstream and downstream for which reliable data is available. The data from these stations and the results are far more reliable (see attachment) and compare well with the County Council data below the Golden Falls dam for the same period. There were a number of outlying results which caused averages to elevate but the results from 2007-2009 confirmed good physiochemical status at Ballymore Bridge.”
As stated previously, the Ballymore Eustace Trout and Salmon Anglers’ Association are for the most part pleased with the provisions of the WWDL for both Ballymore Eustace and Blessington. However, we are left high and dry as to the cause of the algae growth in the River Liffey in the early part of each angling season which no one wants to know or do anything about. If it wasn’t for the ESB releasing generation flood waters, the Liffey at Ballymore Eustace would be unfishable and aesthetically unpleasant.
Yours sincerely,
___________________________
Thomas Deegan
Honorary Treasurer.