E-coli water warning for Ireland

Ireland faces EU fines over its failure to clean up drinking water supplies, a 'significant number' of which still contain e-coli, despite earlier warnings.

Environment commissioner Stavros Dimas said: "I am concerned that, more than four years after a court ruling, and despite substantial Government investments, a significant number of local authority and private water supplies still show a presence of e.coli. This needs to be resolved without further delay."

The EU warned Ireland about the presence of e-coli in water supplies, which breaches European Drinking Water Directive standards, back in 2002.

Despite government investment, by 2005 more than half of private group water supplies across six Irish counties still contained e-coli. "A significant number of local authority and private water supplies still show a presence of e.coli" today, the EU said.

The presence of e-coli is of particular concern because it indicates a high risk of other human pathogens being present.

Pollution from animal wastes, defective septic tanks and the release of raw sewage or inadequately treated water are usually to blame.

Goska Romanowicz

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