160,000 face illness risk due to bug in tap water
More than 160,000 people are at risk of crippling illness because the dangerous bug cryptosporidium is present in drinking water supplies.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that funding must be provided to upgrade the water network due to the high number of plants that fail to meet quality standards, lead piping in homes and the presence of pesticides and cancer-causing chemicals in drinking water.
The 'Drinking Water Report 2016' says that while the overall quality of drinking water remains high, improvements are needed to avoid imposing boil-water notices and restrictions.
The EPA also says that some supplies continue to have problems with trihalomethanes (THMs) or chemicals produced through the process of disinfecting water.
The European Commission is expected to formally launch legal action later this year for failure to comply with standards and Irish Water has said that remedial works will be completed on all affected plants by 2020.
"While the incidence of e.coli in public water supplies continues to decrease, the current challenge is to reduce the levels of other pollutants in public water supplies across the country, particularly THMs and pesticides," EPA senior drinking water inspector Darragh Page said.
"The number of supplies reporting THM failures remains high and a consistent national approach must be adopted to ensure that pesticides are prevented from entering our drinking water sources."