Downward Trend In E.coli Reported

The positive downward trend in E.coli in drinking water in recent years continued in 2010, according to a new report released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For the first time, large public drinking water supplies in Ireland show similar compliance levels for E.coli to similar supplies in England and Wales, and the Netherlands.

These large supplies provide drinking water to almost three million people in Ireland.

Commenting on the report Mr Dara Lynott, EPA Deputy Director General, said: "Remedial works targeted by the EPA in 2008 will be complete in over 80 per cent of supplies by the end of this year. We will continue to target any water supplies that do not meet the highest standards.

"Ensuring that our drinking water is of the highest quality is vital for public health, for our food industry, for tourism, and for inward investment."

This is the EPA's fourth report on drinking water quality since new regulations were introduced in 2007 providing for a greater level of consumer protection. Where there is a potential danger to human health in a drinking water supply, local authorities are required by the regulations to consult with the Health Service Executive (HSE) and notify the EPA. Local authorities are also required to comply with directions given by the EPA.

The EPA's assessment found that just over half of the local authorities (19) published some or all of their drinking water quality data. Mayo and Kerry County Councils were found to be providing adequate quality information on their drinking water supplies to the public. The posting of up-to-date monitoring results by local authorities on their websites is important as it allows consumers to gain timely access to information on the quality of their drinking water and reduce public exposure to health risks.

Concluding, Mr Gerard O'Leary, Programme Manager, EPA's Office of Environmental Enforcement said: "The public is entitled to know about the quality of their drinking water, which is a matter of public health.

"The downward trends with problems we are reporting here are very encouraging and those downward trends will continue. Whilst we are very good at monitoring standards of drinking water here in Ireland, all local authorities must continue not only to improve the quality of water but also to become better at providing information to consumers."


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