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David Cairns: During 2004the most recent year for which verified compliance data are currently availableseven out of 35 relevant Water Service waste water treatment works did not meet the requirements of the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive (UWWTD) as they did not have the required secondary treatment. In addition 13 works failed to meet either the effluent quality standards or the monitoring requirements of the UWWTD.
Over the three year period to 2007-08 some £290 million is being invested in upgrading Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTWs) to ensure compliance with EC directive standards. Since the compliance assessment of 2004, the Water Service Capital Works Programme has delivered new WWTWs at Culmore, Omagh, Cookstown and Ballyclare, all of which are now capable of producing UWWTD quality effluent. The new works at Larne was completed in early 2006 and, in addition, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey are scheduled for completion in mid-2006.
In addition, work has commenced on the new North Coast WWTW to resolve compliance requirements at Portrush, Portstewart and Coleraine. In addition, Water Service is pursuing the use of public private partnership (PPP) investment to complement conventionally funded programmes. Initial PPP programmes for wastewater and sludge treatment, currently estimated at some £122 million, are being taken forward for detailed planning and procurement.
Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action is being taken to avoid fines for not meeting the EU standards for sewage treatment in Northern Ireland; and what level of fines could be imposed if standards are not met. 
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about what action is being taken to avoid fines for not meeting the EU standards for sewage treatment in Northern Ireland; and what level of fines could be imposed if standards are not met. (68145). I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.
Water Service recognises that not all of its waste water treatment works are fully compliant with the effluent discharge standards set out in the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. The nine locations which the Commission identified as having failed to meet the Directive requirements to have secondary treatment in place by 31 December 2000 are at Bangor, Donaghadee, Carrickfergus, Coleraine, Londonderry, Larne, Newtownabbey, Omagh and Portrush. A major capital investment programme is currently underway across Northern Ireland to address deficiencies in the sewerage infrastructure and to achieve compliance as quickly as possible. Since 2000/01, investment on improvements to waste water treatment works has increased tenfold, from approximately £12 million per year to some £122 million per year in 2005/06. Work has been completed at Londonderry, Omagh and Larne and significant levels of expenditure will continue to be invested as Water Service strives to meet the requirements as soon as possible.
It is not possible to specify the level of fines that could be imposed by the European Commission on a particular Member State. Such fines take into account the seriousness and duration of the breach of compliance, the ability of the Member State to pay, and the profile of the Member State within the European Union. They may comprise a lump sum and, or, a penalty.
You recently asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland a Parliamentary Question about how many domestic properties in Northern Ireland are estimated to be without a mains water supply (69461). I have been asked to reply as this issue falls within my responsibility as Chief Executive of Water Service.
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