Date released: July 31, 2023
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 email@example.com
Notes to Editor
Some key findings of the 2022 report on public water supplies:
The EPA has identified the following priorities for Irish Water to address on a national level to protect and improve public water 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
|Carlow||Carlow North Regional||7,866|
|Clare||West Clare RWS (New WTP)||10,093|
|Clare||West Clare RWS (Old WTP)||4,028|
|Cork||Ballyclough and Mount North||1,977|
|Kerry||Listowel Regional Public Water Supply||14,464|
|Kildare||Barrow Supply (Srowland WTP)1||81,553|
|Kilkenny||Kilkenny City (Radestown) WS||14,483|
|Limerick||Foynes/Shannon Estuary PWS||7,215|
|Limerick||Limerick City Environs||114,864|
|Meath||Navan-Mid Meath Kilcarn PWS||6,412|
|Roscommon||North East Regional||7,803|
List of the supplies currently on a Boil Water Notice or Water Restriction (on 28/07/2023)
|County||Supply||Population affected by notice|
|Kerry||Aughacasla PWS 005D||340|
|Limerick||Foynes/Shannon Estuary PWS||6,986|
|Mayo||Clare Island PWS||160|
|Tipperary||Thurles Regional Water Supply||11,394|
|Waterford||East Waterford Water Supply Scheme||3|
|Wicklow||Ballymorris Public Supply||17|
|Wicklow||Johnstown South (Arklow) Public Supply||6|