The use of sewage sludge is managed by Irish Water through its National Wastewater Sludge Management Plan.
The application of sewage sludge to agricultural land is controlled by local authorities through the maintenance of sludge registers and inspection/enforcement programmes.
The EPA regulates industries (including dairy processing and animal slaughtering) that generate industrial sludges through IED licences.
The application of industrial sludges as an organic fertiliser to agricultural land is controlled under the Good Agricultural Practice regulations.
However currently there is not an integrated approach or data system available that identifies the loads and spreadlands where sludges are applied. A comprehensive understanding of the movement of sludges and the application of sludges to agricultural land is required to ensure the existing controls are fit for purpose.
A review of the management and oversight of sludges being applied to land will be carried out by a working group established under the National Technical Implementation Group (NTIG), which is part of the River Basin Management Planning and Water Framework Directive governance structures.
Recommendations arising will be brought back to the WFD governance structures for consideration.