Ireland's green watchdog warns of health risks to 1m using private water supplies

THE IRISH Republic’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that poorly constructed wells and inadequate monitoring are putting the health at risk of the one million people in Ireland who get their drinking water from a private supply.

The watchdog reported a rise in incidences of E.coli during 2018. It was found in 62 small private water supplies serving commercial buildings or public buildings during 2018.

E. coli can cause illness. In a small number of cases it can result in severe and long-term kidney failure. Reported cases of Verocytotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC), a particularly toxic form of E. coli, found in drinking water infected with animal waste increased in 2018.

EPA director, Dr Tom Ryan, said: “We are concerned about the poor quality of drinking water in private supplies serving commercial or public activities such as crèches, nursing homes and hotels. Where this water comes from poorly constructed wells, there is a high risk of contamination during heavy rain.”

Ireland continues to have the highest incidence of VTEC infection in Europe.