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12/09/2017

Very High Compliance In Safety Of Drinking Water Supply - EPA

The majority of Ireland's water supply meets a very high level of compliance but further improvements are necessary to improve the security of supplies and avoid water restrictions, according to the EPA Drinking Water Report.

The key findings of the report, published today, include:

• 99.9% of samples comply with the microbiological standards

• 99.5% of samples comply with the chemical standards

• 41 Boil Water Notices were put in place during 2016, affecting more than 84,000 people.

• There are 87 "at risk" supplies on the EPA Remedial Action List:

• 58 of these supplies have elevated levels of Trihalomethanes

• 25 of these supplies lack adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering the water supply.

Commenting on the report, Director of the EPA's Office of Environmental Enforcement, Gerard O'Leary, said: "While the removal of long-term boil water notices in supplies like the Whitegate Regional Supply in Cork and Loughrea public water supply in Galway in 2016 was welcome, there remains over 3,600 people on a Boil Water Notice today. The EPA has identified supplies serving over 700,000 consumers where improvements to water treatment infrastructure are necessary to meet public health standards."

Kerry, Cork and Donegal account for almost half of the "at risk" supplies identified by the EPA. The report states that action programme dates set out by Irish Water to improve 24 "at risk" supplies have slipped.

Commenting on threats to drinking water quality such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli and Trihalomethanes (THMs), Darragh Page, Senior Drinking Water Inspector, Office of Environmental Enforcement, said: "While the incidence of E. coli in public water supplies continues to decrease, the current challenge is to reduce the levels of other pollutants in public water supplies across the country, particularly THM, and pesticides. The number of supplies reporting THM failures remains high, and a consistent national approach must be adopted to ensure that pesticides are prevented from entering our drinking water sources. We have also identified 25 supplies that require adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering the water supply."

(MH)

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