4.9.2017   

EN

Official Journal of the European Union

C 293/24


Action brought on 14 July 2017 — European Commission v Ireland

(Case C-427/17)

(2017/C 293/29)

Language of the case: English

Parties

Applicant: European Commission (represented by: K. Mifsud-Bonnici, E. Manhaeve, Agents)

Defendant: Ireland

The applicant claims that the Court should:

declare that, by not ensuring that the waters collected in a combined urban waste waters and rainwater system in 14 agglomerations are retained and conducted for treatment in compliance with the requirements of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC concerning urban waste water treatment (1), Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 3(1) and 3(2) and Annex 1(A) and footnote 1of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC;

declare that, by either not putting in place secondary or equivalent treatment or not providing sufficient evidence to demonstrate compliance in this respect with the Directive 91/271/EEC with regard to 25 agglomerations, Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 4(1) and (3) as read in conjunction with the requirements of Article 10 and Annex 1(B) of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC;

declare that, by not ensuring that urban waste water entering collecting systems from 21 agglomerations, be, before discharge into sensitive areas, made subject to more stringent treatment than that described by Article 4 and in accordance with the requirements of Annex I(B) of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC, Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 5(2) and (3) as read in conjunction with the requirements of Article 10 and Annex 1(B) of the Council Directive 91/271/EEC;

declare that, by not ensuring that the disposal of waste water from urban waste water treatment plants in the agglomerations of Arklow (IEAG_547) and Castlebridge (IEAG_515) is subject to prior regulations and/or specific authorization, Ireland has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 12 under Council Directive 91/271/EEC.

order Ireland to pay the costs.

Pleas in law and main arguments

Article 3(1) of Council Directive 91/271/EEC obliges the Member States to ensure that agglomerations above a certain size are provided with collecting systems for urban waste water. Where a Member State decides to operate a combined system of collection and treatment for both urban waste waters and rainwater runoff, then that system must be designed to ensure that the waters collected are retained and conducted for treatment, taking into account climatic conditions as well as seasonal variations. Based on the data received during the 7th and 8th Reporting Exercises under Article 15 of the Directive as well as the discussion with Ireland during the pre-litigation phase, the Commission is of the opinion that Ireland does not comply with that obligation for 14 agglomerations because of the lack of collecting system in place or because of excessive spills.

Article 4(1) of Council Directive 91/271/EEC obliges the Member States to ensure that urban waste water from agglomerations above a certain size is subject to secondary treatment or an equivalent treatment before discharge. Furthermore, Article 4(3) of the Directive obliges the Member States to ensure that discharges from urban waste water treatment plants satisfy the requirements laid down in Annex I(B) to the Directive. Having assessed the data provided by Ireland, the Commission considers that Ireland does not comply with the requirements of Article 4 as regard 25 agglomerations due to the lack of a treatment plant, the inability of the treatment plant in place to treat the whole load generated by the agglomerations it serves, the non-compliance with Annex I(B) standards, or as a result of non-compliance with Article 3 of the Directive.

Article 5 of Council Directive 91/271/EEC further obliges the Member States to identify sensitive areas and to subject agglomeration above a certain size discharging in those areas to more stringent treatment than that described in Article 4, in accordance with the requirements of Annex I(B). Having assessed the data provided by Ireland, the Commission considers that Ireland has failed to correctly apply Article 5 of the Directive in respect of 21 agglomerations.

Article 12 of Council Directive 91/271/EEC requires that competent authorities shall ensure that the disposal of waste water from urban waste water treatment plants is subject to prior regulations and/or specific authorization. Based on the information provided by Ireland, the Commission considers that Ireland has failed to comply with the requirements of Article 12 as regard two agglomerations in which treatment plants operate without a valid licence.


(1)  OJ 1991, L 135, p. 40.