Spray for killing rushes at centre of investigation involving drinking water for nearly 1m people
The EPA has said there are widespread failures to meet standards that regulate the levels of pesticides in drinking water.
In its Drinking Water Report for 2016, the EPA says that at the end of 2016, 63 supplies serving over 900,000 people had open investigations due to failures to meet the pesticide standard.
The term ‘Pesticides’ includes a wide range of products, but in Ireland, the EPA says it is herbicides that pose the greatest threat to drinking water
The most commonly found pesticide is MCPA, which is used for rush control in grassland. MCPA is usually detected in the months of May/June/July and in September/October. This is because MCPA is applied to grassland in these months for ragwort, rush and thistle control.
Pesticide products should not be present in drinking water and the Drinking Water Regulations set specific standards.
The standards are set considerably below levels which would give rise to potential effects on human health.
Improved monitoring of public water supplies for pesticides has taken place in recent years, and in 2016, Irish Water began a programme of monitoring all public supplies for 21 pesticides most likely to be found in Irish waters.
In its report the EPA said an issue of widespread and, in a small number of supplies, persistent failures to meet the standard has emerged.