Re: Clean Water Supply & Foul Drainage – Basic Requirements

Home Forums Ireland Failure to Provide Infrastructure – The Cost to our Environment & Economy Re: Clean Water Supply & Foul Drainage – Basic Requirements


36% of public water supplies may pose a risk
More than a third of all public water supplies have been identified as potentially risking public health and will have to be replaced, upgraded or closed down, according to an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report to be published today.
Recommending an urgent, large-scale investment programme, The Provision and Quality of Drinking Water in Ireland concluded that “while many have taken the quality of drinking water in Ireland for granted in the past, this can no longer be the case”.
The report reveals that 36 per cent of public water supplies – 339 out of a total of 944 – indicated persistent problems which the EPA says must be eradicated to prevent recurring incidents of harmful pollutants such as cryptosporidium or E.coli.
The situation with private group water schemes was even more bleak, with 36 per cent of schemes having had an actual episode of contamination.
The report differs from previous water quality reports in that in addition to test results for the latest period, 2006-2007, it also assesses “security” of public water supplies – in effect a pre-emptive bid to identify weaknesses in supply systems before pollution is discovered and boil notices are issued.
As a result of the findings the EPA has notified local authorities that they must complete one of the largest assessments ever undertaken of their water services by February 28th next.
The authorities have been asked to tell the EPA what monitoring systems are in place; what the monitoring systems are looking for; what upgrades are necessary; what programme is in place to deliver any necessary upgrades; and when such upgrades will be completed.
The action is partly driven by a finding by the European Court of Justice that Ireland’s water services are, in some cases, substandard. The European Commission is seeking to have Ireland brought back before the court for failure to improve this situation.
Although testing has traditionally indicated very high drinking water quality levels in Ireland, the EPA’s director of environmental enforcement Dara Lynott said the statistics alone could be misleading.
He instanced, for example, the report’s finding that acceptable quality was found in 99.1 per cent of samples tested for E.coli pollution. Although this appeared to be a good result, more than 10,000 samples had been analysed for E.coli and 98 were deemed deficient.
The key question was how many people were served by water from services where the 98 deficient samples were recorded, he said. Overall the testing – for E.coli and other pollutants – revealed just under 82 per cent of people with public water supplies had acceptable water quality. “That is just unacceptable,” Mr Lynott said.
Remedial work is expected to cost tens of millions of euro but a full estimate will not be available until later this year. Mr Lynott said that of the 339 public water supplies with persistent problems, “some could require only the fitting of a low-chlorine-level alarm”, which could cost between €3,000 and €5,000.
However, some water treatment plants might have to be replaced and it was likely that a €50 million contingency fund provided by Minister for the Environment John Gormley would be fully utilised, he said.
The EPA has refused to identify the 339 water services it has placed on an “amber list” pending detailed assessment reports from the local authorities. But it did supply details of some 77 services where E.coli was detected at least once in the 2006-2007 period.
The report also provides details of 43 public water supplies that were contaminated with E.coli more than once during the period 2004-2006. A large proportion of these were in the south of the country. (See accompanying map)
The report can be accessed online at
EPA water report: main points
• 339 out of a total of 944 public water supplies have now been placed on an “amber alert” by the EPA. An amber alert is defined as a potential risk to human health.
• 77 of the 944 public water supplies have had at least one actual experience of E.coli contamination in the last two years (2006-2007).
• E.coli was detected in 246 of the State’s 688 private group water schemes in the last two years.
• 123 public group water schemes continue to have inadequate monitoring.
• Since the introduction of new regulations in March last year the EPA issued 22 binding directions to 12 local authorities in order to restore a “clean and wholesome” water supply.
• 28 audits of local authorities were carried out by the EPA in 2007. Issues were identified at all treatment plants audited.
• 21 water supply systems collectively serving more than 113,000 people either had a boil water notice, or another form of restriction (such as “do not use”) imposed in a six-month period from March 2007.
Tim O’Brien The Irish Times 24 Jan 08

€160m Beacon project turned down Dun Laoghaire Gazette
A multi million euro plan to build a state-of-the-art women and children’s hospital in Dundrum has been refused planning permission. The project known as the Beacon Medical Campus, is believed to be worth €160m and was to have been built in Sandyford Industrial Estate.
However, the high-profile project has been turned down by Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC), less than a month after the gazette revealed DLRCC has been forced to implement a six-month freeze on pending planning applications in the South Dublin Industrial estate.
The planning freeze was brought about because of concerns that the local sewage system has reached capacity.
……Last month the County Manager, Owen Keegan, told the Gazette: “The recent work undertaken by the Council has identified major deficiencies in the foul drainage system in the Sandyford/Stillorgan catchments areas which extends beyond the Sandyford Business estates area.”
“Given these deficiencies, I have to advise the Council that it is considered that it would not be appropriate to grant permission for any further significant developments in the area until the foul drainage infrastructure requirements are determined and the Council is satisfied that the required measures can be implemented.”……..

Basic requirements for a clean water supply and adequate foul drainage capacity must be provided for. This is a fundamental requirement. It is disturbing that following Ireland’s wealth people are rewarded with inexcusable deficits in such basics.

Planning permissions apply levies in order to provide for these services. Given we now know officially that ‘foul drainage has reached capacity’, Where was the money from planning levies spent?

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