Pesticide detections in water on the rise in some counties

File photo
File photo

Exceedances in pesticides levels in watercources are on the increase across certain counties, according to Irish Water.

While it says there is no threat to public health, it is imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when spraying their lands.

Irish Water is appealing to farmers and other users of pesticides to ensure that best practice measures to protect drinking water quality are always followed.

In Donegal, exceedances in pesticides are on the increase with two exceedances detected during 2018 in the River Eske Public Water Supply.

Eight different supplies in Co Donegal (Bundoran, Fanad East, Fanad West, Frosses /Inver, Letterkenny, Milford, Fullerton Dam and Rosses) have seen the herbicide MCPA and other pesticides such as Cypermethrin, Glyphosate and Fluroxypyr detected over the past two years, albeit mostly at very low levels.

A number of localised exceedences were also recorded in Cavan, Galway, Monaghan, Mayo and Sligo.

Andy Boylan, Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said providing safe, clean drinking water for all is our first priority.

"In Ireland, the majority (82pc) 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.”

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Users of pesticides have been advised they should make sure that they are aware of the best practice measures that should be followed to protect water quality.

The regulations are so stringent that a single drop of pesticide is enough to breach the drinking water limit in a small stream for up to 30 kilometres. This clearly highlights the level of care needed to protect drinking water sources.

MCPA, which is commonly used to kill rushes on wet land, is the main offender. Careless storage, handling or improper application means it can easily end up in drinking water leading to breaches of the drinking water regulations.

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.

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