Ireland's Water Contamination Levels Lag Behind EU Compliance Deadline

DUBLIN, Ireland

In its annual report the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ireland has said that it expects drinking water to comply with European Union standards but not until 2020, which will be 16 years after the EU’s deadline for compliance.

The agency report calls for major investment by national utility Irish Water to improve the security of public water supplies to comply with health standards and to avoid water restrictions, including boil water notices.

The EPA acknowledges that monitoring of 883 public drinking water supplies showed 99.9 per cent of samples complying with European microbiological standards and 99.6 per cent complied with EU chemical standards during 2017, but cautions that Irish drinking water supplies are at risk of contamination and will not comply with EU public health standards until 2020.

The EPA said that 72 of the 883 public water supply samples were at risk of being contaminated by parasites and chemicals due to inadequate treatment facilities.

The report says that Ireland could be fined by the European Commission if it did not meet contamination compliance standards soon. The compliance deadline passed in 2004. The European Commission started a pilot infringement case in 2015 but has yet to take it further.