A report published by the EPA every four years lists a total of 36 rivers which have been affected by municipal waste.

The Offaly Express notes that a six kilometre stretch of the Tullamore River downstream of the town has been designated as “seriously polluted, continuously or intermittently for many years”.

Most recently an incident was reported on the river in 2005, though pollution has been recorded as far back as 1971.

EPA’s report, published earlier this month, expressed concern over the country’s ability to meet targets for the ecological and chemical status of all water bodies to be good by 2015.

According to the report: “The targets are likely to be very demanding in many cases, especially in waters where there is a long history of pollution, or as with some surface water, physical disturbance.”

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie