It follows simillar findings in Donegal where exceedances were noted in Killybegs, Carrigart-Downings and Donegal (Lough Eske) in 2017 as well as low level detections in many other supplies
Drinking water supplies are vulnerable to contamination
Commenting ahead of the 2018 spraying season, Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist, said providing safe, clean drinking water for all is our first priority and in Ireland, the majority (82pc) of drinking water supplies come from surface water sources (water from rivers, lakes and streams). Such supplies he said are vulnerable to contamination from land and animal run-off.
Two different supplies in County Longford have seen the herbicide MCPA detected over the past two years, albeit mostly at very low levels.
MCPA is used mainly for eradicating rushes, a problem for many years on Irish farms and one that looks like continuing for many more years. It is also found in other weed killer formulations used by gardeners and growers, so its use is quite widespread.
Dr. Aidan Moody, Chair of NPDWAG, added “The continued engagement of all stakeholders, working in partnership, is needed to tackle this issue. Users of pesticides should make sure that they are aware of the best practice measures that should be followed to protect water quality.”
Detections of pesticides in drinking water found across the country
Spring is a time of year for new growth and many people are getting back out into their fields and gardens to assess the effects of winter and prepare for the year ahead. In many cases, they are finding that weeds of various kinds have taken over and action needs to be taken to leave space for the plants they want to grow.
Pesticide users urged to follow best practice
The basic steps in reducing pesticide risks are as follows:
- Choose the right pesticide product
- Read and follow the product label
- Determine the right amount to purchase and use
- Don’t spray if rain or strong wind is forecast in the next 48 hours
- Make sure you are aware of the location of all nearby water courses
- Comply with any buffer zone specified on the product label to protect the aquatic environment. Mark out the specified buffer zone from the edge of the river or lake or other water course
- Never fill a sprayer directly from a water course or carry out mixing, loading or other handling operations beside a water course
- Avoid spills, stay well back from open drains and rinse empty containers 3 times into the sprayer
- Store and dispose of pesticides and their containers properly
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.
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