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“EPA Reports One in Ten People in Ireland Drink Contaminated Water”

DUBLIN: A report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reveals that a significant percentage of Ireland’s population uses contaminated drinking water. This water contains harmful substances such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and Cryptosporidium, with THMs being carcinogenic chemicals found in chlorinated water.

The report highlights that one-twentieth of the country’s water supplies failed to maintain permissible THM levels last year. Approximately 300,000 people are seeking remediation for THM overexposure. The EPA emphasises the need for increased efforts to reduce THM levels in key areas, such as Limerick City and Kilkenny City.

Boil water notices were issued to 254,000 people last year, indicating a rise in the number of individuals using public water services that pose health risks. In 2022, 481,000 people used such water, a number that increased to 561,000 last year. The report also notes a doubling in the issuance of long-term boil water notices.

While the report states that 99.7% of public water supply meets bacterial and chemical safety standards, the EPA acknowledges that many water supplies still lack robust treatment plants capable of ensuring long-term safety.

Ireland has a ‘National Lead Strategy’ to address lead contamination in drinking water, but progress has been limited. The EPA recommends that the Departments of Housing, Local Government, Heritage, and Health develop plans to replace lead in public buildings. Additionally, the EPA encourages people to utilise the government’s lead remediation grant scheme.

The EPA’s 2023 report on drinking water quality, along with the full list of at-risk public water supplies, is available on the EPA website.

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