Drinking water compliance continues to improve in Ireland, finds report

Drinking water quality continued to improve in 2010, with Ireland showing similar compliance levels for E.Coli as England and Wales for the first time.

That is the conclusion of a report by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Ireland, which carries out around 250,000 monitoring tests each year, in line with national and EU standards to assess the safety of Irish drinking water.

The figures show that while E.Coli was detected at least once in 2010, out of 929 public water supplies, this remains lower than 2009 levels when 27 were detected. Figures have also been shown to have fallen each year since 2004.

It also found that 12% of private group water schemes were contaminated at least once during 2010, although again the rates of E.Coli detected fell from 87 in 2009 to 56 in 2010.

According to the EPA, although Trihalomethanes (THM) compliance will remain a priority enforcement area, exceedences were found to have dropped by almost 3% in 2010. Overall chemical standards compliance was found to have remained the same at 99% in 2010.

Commenting on the report EPA deputy director general, Dara Lynott, said: "Remedial works targeted by the EPA in 2008 will be complete in over 80% 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."

Meanwhile, security of supply was also found to have improved, with 166 (49%) of water supplies removed from a Remedial Action List (RAL) set up in 2008 when the EPAI identified 339 supplies in need of action - although a further 67 new supplies have been added to the list since 2008.

According to the EPA, by the end of the year, just over 100 supplies will require the completion of outstanding remedial works to enable them to be removed from the RAL.

Carys Matthews


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