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Ireland's drinking water due to comply with EU standards by 2020, 16 years after deadline

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual report for last year found that in general quality of the public drinking supply remained high.

Image: Shutterstock/sebra

IRELAND’S DRINKING WATER is due to comply with EU standards by 2020, 16 years after the deadline for compliance.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) annual report for last year found that in general quality of the public drinking water supply remained high, but that continued investment to ensure security of supply was needed.

The report for 2017 found that 99.9% of public drinking water samples taken complied with microbiological standards, while 99.6% of samples complied with the chemical standards.

Despite this, there are 72 “at risk” supplies on the EPA Remedial Action List.

Of these supplies:

  • 52  have elevated levels of trihalomethanes
  • 17 lack adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering the water supply
  • Remedial works for 38 of these supplies are due to be complete by the end of 2018

The EPA also provided a list of the areas under Boil Water Notices, which are affecting 12,723 people.

These include Lough Talt in Sligo, where 12,260 people are affected, and Kiltealy in Wexford, where 285 people are affected.

“Irish Water plans to have all public drinking water supplies compliant with existing EU public health standards by the end of 2020,” said Gerard O’Leary, director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement.

“These standards came into force 16 years ago. There are currently 72 supplies where infrastructure is needed to achieve this goal.

Continued investment will be required to achieve compliance with current public health standards and new standards expected to be in place by 2020.

Darragh Page, programme manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, said that there was a slight increase in E. coli detections last year.

“The best way to ensure our drinking water is free of E. coli is by having a robust disinfection system in place with good checks and controls on the treatment process,” he said.

You can access the report in full here

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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