Eight private Galway water supplies contaminated with E. Coli in 2020

E. Coli was found in eight private water supplies in Galway in 2020.

A report released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) examined water quality in private group schemes and small private supplies.

The report found that 20 of the 380 private group schemes in Ireland were found to have E. coli contamination, while 49 of the 1,225 small private supplies had E. Coli contamination.

Dr Tom Ryan, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said that suppliers are “obliged to make sure drinking water is clean and wholesome for consumers”.

“Consumers should expect, as a minimum, that their water is safe to drink. However, compliance with the E. coli standard is not as good as it should be for water from private group water schemes and small private supplies It is essential that works to improve water quality are carried out as soon as possible to eliminate the serious risks to people’s health.”

Trihalomethanes (THM) form when organic material, such as rotting vegetation, reacts with chlorine used in the disinfection process.

According to the report, two Galway water supplies had THM failures in 2020.

The report also showed that one quarter of private small supplies, serving food businesses, nursing homes, crèches, and B&Bs, were not monitored in 2020.

Noel Byrne, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement, said:

“We recognise that, in many cases, the failure to monitor these premises was due to difficulties in accessing premises during Covid-19 restrictions. However, it is vitally important that Local Authorities ensure all water supplies are monitored annually to provide assurance to consumers that their drinking water is safe.”

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