IRISH WATER

Pesticides found in Louth's drinking water supply, say Irish Water

Ardee, Tallanstown and Castlebellingham are among the areas affected

Barry Landy

Reporter:

Barry Landy

Email:

barry.landy@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Pesticides found in Louth's drinking water supply, say Irish Water

Irish Water say there is no risk to public health

Irish Water say that an excess of pesticides has been detected in drink water sources in Louth, including Ardee, Castlebellingham and Tallanstown. 

The body say they are appealing to farmers and other users of pesticides to follow guidelines when spreading the substances across their lands. 

According to Irish Water, exceedances - namely of the herbicide MCPA - were noted in Ardee, Greenmount in Castlebellingham, Tallanstown, South Louth and East Meath (Drogheda) last year - while exceedances were also recorded in these same supplies in 2016.

The company say there is 'no threat to public health' but state it is imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when spraying their lands.

Exceedances in pesticides have been detected in drinking water sources in Louth, as a result Irish Water working in partnership with the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group are appealing to farmers and other users of pesticides to follow the guidelines when applying these substances to their lands. The efforts to reduce the incidence of these detections are being coordinated by the NPDWAG. This group is chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. All of the key stakeholders are represented in this group and include: other Government departments and agencies; local authorities; industry representative bodies; farming organisations; water sector organisations and amenity sector organisations.

Four different supplies in Louth have seen MCPA detected over the past two years, albeit mostly at very low levels, Irish Water have said.

MCPA is used mainly for eradicating rushes on farms. It is also found in other weed killer formulations used by gardeners and growers, so its use is quite widespread.

“Water is a key natural resource and is critical for the health and wellbeing of our citizens and the future development of County Louth," Louth County Council chief exectutive Joan Martin said. "I would urge the communities in Louth to be proactive in taking steps to protect water quality and ensure the highest standards."

Also commenting ahead of the 2018 spraying season, Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said, “Irish Water is continuing its extensive investment programme to improve water and wastewater services in Ireland.

"Providing safe, clean drinking water for all is our first priority. In Ireland, the majority (82 per cent) of drinking water supplies come from surface water sources (water from rivers, lakes and streams). Such supplies are vulnerable to contamination from land and animal run-off."

A single drop of pesticide can breach the drinking water limit in a small stream for up to 30 kilometres. This clearly highlights the potential risk facing many of Ireland’s drinking water sources.

Careless storage, handling and improper application of pesticide means it ends up in drinking water leading to such breaches of the drinking water regulations.

According to Ervia, drinking water monitoring results for Ireland show that a number of pesticides commonly used on grassland, such as MCPA, are being detected more frequently.

'Irish Water working in partnership with the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group would like to remind farmers and professional users of pesticides of the need to follow best practice in the application of pesticides such as MCPA on land, particularly near lakes and rivers used as drinking water sources,' the company said in a statement.