Northern Ireland is facing massive fines after a European court criticised its poor sewage treatment system.
Environmentalists took the case to Europe
The European Court of Justice found inadequate treatment at nine waste waterworks including those at Bangor, Portrush, Londonderry and at Omagh.
The level of the fine will be decided at a later date.
Friends of the Earth made the original complaint. In a statement, the Department of Environment said they had read the judgement.
The DoE said that while they were still studying the ruling, their view was that it did not call into question the handling of the planning applications in the affected areas.
Friends of the Earth's NI director, John Woods, said the authorities would now be forced to deal with the problem.
"We could see the raw sewage being pumped out at Bangor, Portrush and Portstewart, but it seemed nothing was being done about it," he said.
"This appalling sewage pollution is not acceptable to us, it's not acceptable to the people of Northern Ireland, and it's not acceptable to the European Court."