Drinking water quality remains high but resilience of many supplies needs to improve, says EPA.

Date released: July 31, 2023

  • The quality of drinking water from public supplies remains very high, with over 99.7% of samples compliant with bacterial and chemical limits. 
  • 481,000 people are currently served by “at-risk” supplies on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL), up from 374,000 people in 2021. 
  • Persistent THM (Trihalomethane) failures were detected at supplies serving 235,000 people, doubling the population affected since 2021.
  • The cumulative risk from lead in our drinking water continues, with insufficient progress reported for 2022. 

1st August 2023: The EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies Report 2022 released today, shows that over 99.7% of public water supplies comply with bacterial and chemical limits, which means our public water is safe to drink. 

However, many supplies still lack robust treatment measures to guarantee their long-term resilience and safety. The EPA's Remedial Action List (RAL) identifies "at-risk" supplies that require improvements to safeguard public health. In 2022, the number of people served by public water supplies on the RAL increased to nearly 481,000, up from 374,000 at the end of 2021.

Construction of a new plant at Lee Road (Cork City) and its removal from the RAL represents significant progress in 2022. Strategic progress has also been made in other areas such as disinfection and making the lead remediation grant easier for the public to access.

Launching the report, Dr Tom Ryan, EPA Director said: 

“Our public water quality remains very high, which means that the public can be confident that the drinking water supplied to their homes is safe to drink. Uisce Éireann has made good progress in delivering necessary new drinking water infrastructure such as the new plant at Lee Road in Cork which now supplies high quality drinking water to 97,000 people.

However, the EPA through our inspection and monitoring programme, continues to identify drinking water plants that are at risk and require improvements and upgrades. At the end of 2022, there were 481,000 people being served by at risk supplies on EPA’s RAL. Uisce Éireann needs to prioritise investment in those plants to improve the resilience of drinking supplies, to provide a safe and secure supply into the future.”

In addition, the growing number of people affected by persistent THM (Trihalomethane) failures, now at 235,000 people, is of particular concern.   Greater effort is needed by Uisce Éireann to implement improvements at supplies to minimise exposure to THM’s, including at major supplies such as Limerick City and the Barrow supply in Kildare. 

With regard to lead in drinking water, Noel Byrne, EPA Programme Manager, said: 

“Lead in our drinking water is a cumulative risk to human health. Progress to remove lead from our drinking water supply networks, public buildings and affected homes is far too slow. The EPA welcomes the expansion of the lead remediation grant scheme, which will ease the financial burden on homeowners to replace lead piping. However, leadership is required at national level to address lead in public supplies. Uisce Éireann must accelerate the rollout of their lead mitigation plan and Government departments must outline their plan for lead replacement in public buildings as part of the National Lead Strategy.” 

In 2022, boil water notices impacted 182,000 people -- a slight improvement since 2021. One third of boil water notices were in place for more than 30 days. The EPA recognise the challenges that boil water notices pose to individuals and communities, but they are essential to safeguard public health. The risk of boil water notices on some supplies will remain until Uisce Éireann takes proactive measures to address the underlying causes and improve the resilience of these supplies. 

The EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies 2022 Report and the complete list of public water supplies currently on the Remedial Action List - including details of the proposed remedial measures and associated timeframes - are available on the EPA website.

Further information: Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or media@epa.ie

Notes to Editor

Some key findings of the 2022 report on public water supplies:

  • 99.96 per cent of samples comply with microbiological parameter limits.
  • 99.62 per cent of samples comply with chemical parameter limits. 
  • 58 supplies were on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) at the end of 2022, compared to 52 at the end of 2021.
  • 79 boil water notices and 10 water restrictions were in place in 2022, affecting almost 191,000 people.
  • 25 of those boil water notices were in place for more than 30 days, meaning they are classed as long-term notices requiring investment in infrastructure to address.
  • E. coli bacteria was detected in three supplies, compared to four supplies in 2021.
  • Trihalomethanes (THM) limits were exceeded in 45 supplies, compared to 58 in 2021.
  • Pesticides limits were exceeded in 17 supplies, compared to 31 in 2021.
  • The EPA issued 14 Directions (legally binding instructions) to Irish Water in 2022.

The EPA has identified the following priorities for Irish Water to address on a national level to protect and improve public water supplies:

  • Progressing action programmes for all Remedial Action List schemes;
  • Ensure that water is free of bacteria;
  • Ensure that water is free of protozoan organisms;
  • Ensure that water is free of chemical substances (trihalomethanes and pesticides);
  • Ensure that water treatment plants are operated correctly;
  • Eliminating lead from our drinking water networks;
  • Managing risks to our public water supplies by adopting Drinking Water Safety Plans for all supplies.

There are currently 58 supply zones serving a population of 480,838. The link to the revised RAL is here

Remedial Action List at the end of 2022

COUNTY Supply Population
Carlow Carlow North Regional 7,866
Cavan Belturbet 1,726
Clare Corofin 1,310
Clare Ennistymon RWS 6,703
Clare West Clare RWS (New WTP) 10,093
Clare West Clare RWS (Old WTP) 4,028
Cork Ballyclough and Mount North 1,977
Cork Castletownbere 2,424
Cork Fermoy 7,447
Cork Glashaboy 22,771
Cork Killavullen 810
Cork Macroom 4,218
Cork Mitchelstown North 2,389
Cork Whiddy Island 45
Cork Whitegate Regional 9,011
Donegal Glenties-Ardara 3,518
Donegal Lettermacaward 2,266
Donegal Milford 2,560
Galway Inishboffin 165
Kerry Aughacasla 338
Kerry Caherciveen 1,699
Kerry Caragh Lake 1,886
Kerry Kilgarvan 630
Kerry Listowel Regional Public Water Supply 14,464
Kerry Lyreacrompane 2,561
Kildare Barrow Supply (Srowland WTP)1 81,553
Kilkenny Callan 2,763
Kilkenny Kilkenny City (Radestown) WS 14,483
Kilkenny Piltown/Fiddown 2,973
Limerick Foynes/Shannon Estuary PWS 7,215
Limerick Limerick City Environs 114,864
Longford Granard 2,447
Longford Longford Central 15,979
Louth Greenmount 3,955
Louth Tallanstown 1,932
Mayo Louisburgh 885
Mayo Newport PWS 684
Meath Batterstown 96
Meath Drumcondrath 1,227
Meath Navan-Mid Meath Kilcarn PWS  6,412
Meath Trim PWS 11,187
Offaly Clara/Ferbane RWSS 7,341
Roscommon North East Regional 7,803
Tipperary Borrisokane 1,841
Tipperary Clonmel Poulavanogue 2,435
Tipperary Galtee Regional 11,379
Tipperary Kilcash 207
Tipperary Nenagh Regional 14,005
Tipperary Roscrea 6,223
Tipperary Templetuohy 808
Waterford Dungarvan 12,893
Waterford Graiguenageeha 43
Waterford Kereen 28
Wexford Clonroche 588
Wexford Enniscorthy 11,288
Wexford Wexford Town 20,791
Wicklow Aughrim/Annacurra 1,588
Wicklow Ballymorris 17


List of the supplies currently on a Boil Water Notice or Water Restriction (on 28/07/2023)

County Supply Population affected by notice
Cork Whiddy Island 40
Galway Dunmore/Glenamaddy PWS 1
Galway Tuam RWSS 1000
Kerry Aughacasla PWS 005D 340
Limerick Doon PWS 600
Limerick Foynes/Shannon Estuary PWS 6,986
Mayo Clare Island PWS 160
Meath Athboy 5
Meath Athboy 5
Meath Athboy 5
Meath Baltrasna 9
Monaghan Drum 43
Tipperary Ardfinnan Regional 11,364
Tipperary Burncourt Ballylooby 1,728
Tipperary Burncourt Regional 1,857
Tipperary Clonmel Poulavanogue 96
Tipperary Galtee Regional  15,795
Tipperary Galtee Regional 46
Tipperary Thurles Regional Water Supply 11,394
Waterford Ballydermody 2
Waterford Carrignagower 35
Waterford East Waterford Water Supply Scheme 3
Waterford Garryahylish 2
Waterford Graiguenageeha 40
Wicklow Ballymorris Public Supply 17
Wicklow Johnstown South (Arklow) Public Supply 6
Total   51,579