Over 100 drinking water supplies in need of remedial works to avoid threat of water restrictions, says EPA

Date released: Oct 27 2016

Over 100 drinking water supplies in need of remedial works to avoid threat of water restrictions, says EPA

  • Monitoring of Ireland’s public drinking water in 2015 found that:
    • 99.9% of samples comply with the microbiological standards
    • 99.4% of samples comply with the chemical standards
  • 35 Boil Water Notices were in place during 2015 for part or all of the year, affecting nearly 40,000 people.  
  • 115 “at risk” drinking public water supplies were on the EPA Remedial Action List at the end of 2015. 
  • Today there are 108 “at risk” supplies on this list.  
    • 37 of these supplies lack adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering drinking water.

 

The Drinking Water Report for 2015, released today, indicates that the majority of our 962 drinking water supplies are safe and comply with   microbiological and chemical standards.  However, the EPA has identified 108 “at risk” supplies in the latest Remedial Action List, also released today, where improvement works are necessary to ensure they are safe and secure.  These supplies serve 830,000 consumers.

Commenting following the release of the report and the latest Remedial Action List, Gerard O’Leary, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said,

“So far this year, 86,000 people have had to boil their water to make it safe. This is more than twice as many as last year.  Without investment to address the deficiencies in the supplies on the EPA’s Remedial Action List, this type of water restriction will continue to occur.”

The EPA has identified the following key priorities that need to be addressed:

  • Eliminate long-term Boil Water Notices.
  • Implement action programmes for all “at risk” supplies, particularly treatment systems to address trihalomethanes.
  • Remove lead from public buildings and homes.

Concluding, Darragh Page, Senior Inspector of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said,

“Irish Water needs to accelerate the investment in remedial works at supplies listed on the EPA’s Remedial Action List so that the threat of long-term water restrictions is eliminated. Where avoidable delays have been caused to these planned upgrade works, the EPA has and will continue to take enforcement action.”

The report is available on the EPA website. An infographic explaining the report and public water supplies at risk is also available.  


Notes to Editor:

Some key findings of the 2015 report on the 962 public water supplies:

  • 99.92% of samples comply with microbiological parameters.
  • 99.39% of samples comply with chemical parameters. 
  • 35 boil water notices and a further 9 water restrictions were issued by the HSE and Irish Water. 
  • E.coli was detected at least once in 7 supplies, compared to 8 supplies in 2014. 
  • Trihalomethanes limits were exceeded in 59 supplies (no change from 2014).
  • 115 supplies were on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) at the end of 2015
  • 31 Directions were issued by the EPA in 2015.

 

Explanations of the terms boil water notice/water restrictions/Directions:

Boil water notice: This is a notice issued to the public by Irish Water and the HSE advising that water must be boiled before being consumed.

Water restrictions: This is a notice issued to the public by Irish Water and the HSE advising that the water supply is subject to restrictions and may only be used by certain types of people or subject to certain conditions.

Directions: Issued by the EPA to Irish Water, Directions are legally binding notices requiring Irish Water to carry out specified actions.  Failure to comply with a Direction is an offence.

 

Key priorities:

The EPA’s priorities for Irish Water are to finalise and implement national strategies to achieve the following key objectives:

  • Eliminate long-term Boil Water Notices through continued progress of the National Disinfection Strategy.
  • Implement action programmes for improved Trihalomethanes (THM) treatment submitted and approved under the Remedial Action List (RAL). 
  • Assess public buildings for action under the National Lead Strategy. 
  • Encourage increased replacement of private side lead under the National Lead Strategy.  
  • Progress action programmes for all RAL schemes.
  • Protect sources and abstraction points.
  • Progress and complete Drinking Water Safety Plans.

List of the 17 public water supplies currently on Boil Water Notice

Name of supplyCountyPopulation Affected
Ballyhaise Public Water Supply Cavan 750
Carron Public Water Supply Clare 200
Turlough Public Water Supply Clare 500
Kilconnell Public Water Supply Galway 233
Kiltyclogher Public Water Supply Leitrim 333
Loughill Public Water Supply

Limerick City

and County

18

Longford Central Public

Water Supply

Longford 4
Baltrasna Public Water Supply Meath 9

Ballinlough/Loughglynn Public

Water Supply

Roscommon 3,500

Dundum Regional Public Water

Supply

Tipperary 100

Burncourt Regional Public Water

Supply

Tipperary 178

Templetney Public Water

Supply

Tipperary 20
Nire Public Water Supply

Waterford City

and County

16

Dromore Upper Public Water

Supply

Waterford City

and County

12

Ring/Helvick/Seaview Public

Water Supply

Waterford City

and County

875

Aughclare,Campile Public

Water Supply

Wexford County 15

Johnstown South (Arklow)

Public Water Supply

Wicklow County 6