A growing population is placing greater demands on Dublin's creaking sewer system.

Domestic waste from Dublin travels through a network of sewers. The sewage treatment has changed very little in the last one hundred years. It is now a matter of urgency that a decision is made on the type of sewage treatment to be used in the future which will, in turn, determine the future of Dublin Bay. 

Every day when a million Dubliners flush the contents of their toilets few give a thought to its final resting place. Well, that place is Dublin Bay.

Chief Engineer with Dublin Corporation Kevin O'Donnell describes how the discharge of sewage into the River Liffey in the second half of the nineteenth century caused toxic conditions. The solution was to construct a main drainage system which would intercept all the flows arriving to the Liffey and redirect them away from the city to a suitable point for treatment.  

Karen Dubsky of the Dublin Bay Environment Group describes the impact that the sewage from around three hundred thousand people has on Dublin Bay. 

'The Nature of Things: A Drop in the Ocean' was broadcast on 8 February 1990. The reporter is Tim Collins.

'The Nature of Things' ran for two series in 1989 and 1990. The first episode was broadcast on 26 October 1989.