EPA

  • The 2018 EPA Bathing Water report, published today, sets out bathing water quality during the long hot summer of 2018.  Overall, 94 per cent of the 145 identified bathing waters met the minimum EU standards last year, with over 100 beaches classified as Excellent. 

    However the bathing waters described as poor quality include Clifden Beach in Co Galway.

    145 bathing waters were identified in 2018, an increase of three since 2017. 94 per cent of identified bathing waters (137 of 145) met at least the minimum EU standards. 103 of 145 bathing waters were classified as Excellent.  A further 22 were classified as Good and 12 were classified as Sufficient, meeting the mandatory requirement. 

    Five bathing waters were classified as Poor, down from seven in 2017. These include Clifden in Co Galway along with Lilliput in Co Westmeath and Sandymount Strand, Merrion Strand and Portrane (the Brook) Beach in Dublin. 

    Clifden has received a Poor classification for the past three years.  According to Galway County Council, the main problems are the public sewer network and a storm water overflow at the Clifden wastewater treatment plant. Other potential sources of pollution include discharges from domestic and non-domestic septic tanks in the areas.

    Galway County Council will continue to engage with Irish Water to help minimise leaks, spills or overflows of untreated sewage from the Clifden waterwater treatment plant. Irish Water also planning further rehabilitation works on the Clifden sewer network in 2019. Galway County Council will also continue to inspect septic tanks in the area and for any which are not operating correctly, will instruct owners to take specific action to fix them.

    Improvements were made in three bathing waters previously classified as Poor, which included Ballyloughane near Galway City.

    The majority of the bathing waters included in Co Mayo were described as Excellent, with Bertra Beach in Murrisk, Golden Strand on Achill Island and Old Head beach in Louisburg were classified as Good.

    In Sligo the majority of beaches were described as Excellent or Good, with Mullaghmore Beach Sufficient.

  • Almost 8 in 10 septic tank systems in Mayo failed inspection in 2017 and 2018 - the highest failure rate in the country - posing a risk to human health and the environment.

    The Environmental Protection Agency has published a review of over 2,000 inspections of septic tanks in 2017 and 2018, which showed that - across the country- nearly half of the systems failed inspection because they were not built or maintained properly.

    In Mayo, the failure rate rose to 78% - compared to 54% in Sligo, 39% in Co Galway and 0% in Galway City.

    Faulty septic tank systems can contaminate household wells and pollute rivers and streams.

    The EPA is urging householders to fix septic tanks that are not working properly, and says the Government's proposed increase in the septic tank grant scheme will help address the issue.

  • A  Mayo poultry company is included in a list of 9 sites published by the Environmental Protection Agency, for failing to meet necessary environmental standards.

    The Western Brand Group, Ballyhaunis is on the EPA's latest National Priority Sites List for Enforcement, along with eight other sites across the country, and these companies face further enforcement action from the EPA in order to secure compliance with environmental standards.

    Five of the 9 sites are involved in the agri-food sector, and the main compliance issues are causing odour and noise nuisance, and failing to properly manage wastewater discharges.

    The National Priority Sites List is compiled and published by the EPA on a quarterly basis using a scoring system.

    Points are allocated to each site based on compliance data, such as complaints and incidents over the previous 6 months.

    Sites which exceed a certain threshold become a National Priority Site and the EPA can target them for further enforcement action, up to and including legal action or suspension of their licence.

    The system was introduced last year to drive further environmental compliance at industrial and waste facilities.

     

  • The bathing water quality at 12 beaches in Co Mayo has been described as excellent in the latest EPA report.

    The 2018 EPA Bathing Water report examined bathing water quality during the long hot Summer of 2018, and found that  - of 15 beaches tested - 12 had excellent water quality - including Carrowmore and Carrowniskey beaches in Louisburg, Clare Island, Dooega, Dugort, Keel and Keem beaches on Achill Island, Mulranny beach, Elly Bay and Mullaghroe beaches in Belmullet, Rinroe beach in Carrowtigue and Ross beach, Killala.

    At three Mayo beaches, the water quality was deemed good - these included Bertra beach in Murrisk, Golden Strand in Achill and Old Head in Louisburg.

    Last week, Bertra and Golden Strand beaches lost their Blue Flag status, as their water quality had not reached an excellent standard.

    Across the country, the EPA report shows that 94% of bathing waters met at least the minimum standards last year, while just five were classified as poor - including Clifden beach in Co Galway.

     

  • The latest report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows the quality of drinking water in public supplies across the country remains high.

    The EPA Drinking Water Report for 2017 shows a high level of compliance with microbiological and chemical standards, indicating that most of our water supplies are safe to drink.

    However, there are currently 72 "at risk" supplies on the EPA Remedial Action List.

    It's expected drinking water in Ireland will be in line with EU standards by 2010 - 16 years after the deadline for compliance.

    The number of public water supplies on the Remedial Action List has fallen from 339 ten years ago to 72 at present.

    Irish Water says upgrading works on 38 of these supplies will be finished by the end of the year.

    There are no public water supplies in Co Mayo currently on the Remedial Action List, however, there are two in both counties Roscommon and Galway - both of which are due for completion by the end of this year.

    9 water supplies across the country are currently on a boil water notice - including the Lough Talt scheme will supplies water to over 12,000 people mainly in Co Sligo.

    A planning application has been submitted for a new plant to tackle water quality on the Lough Talt scheme, but the EPA says that due to planning difficulties, there is no timeframe available yet for the completion of these works.

  • Crèches, nursing homes and hotels using their own wells for drinking water, could pose a serious health risk.

    A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency expresses concern about the standard of some private water supplies, and found the quality of drinking water in private supplies remains poorer than that in public supplies.

    Small private supplies serve commercial or public buildings and are drawn from springs or wells -these have the poorest water quality.

    One million people in Ireland  - or almost 20% of the population - get their drinking water from private water supplies including household wells.

    But this report says many of these supplies aren't registered with local authorities and so don't get tested properly to ensure the water is safe.

    Last year E. coli - the contamination linked to human or animals waste - was found in 51 small private water supplies serving commercial buildings like hotels and B&Bs or public buildings like schools and crèches.

    Meanwhile, no E. coli testing was reported for over 700 other small supplies - including 22 private supplies in Co Mayo.

    The EPA is concerned about the health risks particularly for children and the elderly - and it's urging owners of all private water supplies to register with their local authority.

    Owners are also urged to protect their private supply by checking the source of the water and checking for any sources of pollution, as well as testing the supply annually.

     

     

  • There are 38 towns and villages across the State discharging raw sewage into the environment, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

    The agency also notes that there are 28 large towns and cities discharging inadequately treated sewage into the environment.

    Foxford, Tubbercurry, Collooney and Monksland are among the larger urban areas that are listed in the report as failing to deal with waste water effectively and where waste discharges entering our waters don't meet pollution and health standards.

    Untreated sewage is still being pumped into our seas and waterways from 38 towns and villages around the country. Killala, Newport, Roundstone, Carraroe, Spiddal and Ahascaragh are among the locations cited in this list.

    The EPA says years of under-investment in the system is one of the main causes.

    Despite a "legacy of under- investment" and the State facing legal action from the European Commission for failing to meet mandatory standards, the EPA says improvements are not happening at a fast enough pace.

    EPA spokesperson Darragh Page says Irish Water is not meeting its own targets for dealing with the issue.

  • Cryptosporidium was detected in 25 public water supplies last year - up from 17 the previous year.

    However, the quality of drinking water in public supplies remains high - that's according to the EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies Report for 2018.

    The report says that, while the overall quality of water supplies remains high, it's important Irish Water ensures that water treatment plants are properly and effectively operated to protect public health.

    The Environmental Protection Agency says plants without appropriate treatment for cryptosporidium need to be prioritised for investment by Irish Water.

    During 2018, 44 boil water notices were in place - this is now down to 19 boil water notices affecting over 15,000 customers.

    The largest is the Lough Talt supply in Sligo, where over 12 and a half thousand customers are still boiling water before use.

    However, work is due to start shortly on the long-awaited upgrade works at the Lough Talt water treatment plant, and the €10 million project should take between 12 and 14 months to complete.

  • Nearly three-quarters of Ireland’s bathing waters are of excellent quality, according to the latest EPA report, but seven beaches have failed to meet minimum standards for water quality.

    Two of the beaches labelled as “poor” by the Environmental Protection Agency are in Galway – Clifden beach and Ballyloughane in Galway City.

    The other 5 beaches that failed to meet minimum water quality standards are in Dublin.

    Of the 15 Mayo beaches inspected, 14 are of excellent water quality, while Old Head beach in Louisburg is described as “good”.

    The EPA report says bathing waters in Co Mayo continue to be of a very high quality, with few pollution sources identified.

    The Mayo beaches described as “excellent” are  -  

    Bertra Beach, Murrisk ; Carrowmore Beach, Louisburgh; Carrowniskey, Louisburgh; Clare Island;  Dooega Beach, Dugort, Golden Strand, Keel and Keem beaches on Achill Island; Elly Bay, Belmullet;

    Mullaghroe Beach, Belmullet ; Mulranny; Rinroe beach Carrowtigue, and Ross Beach Killala – all described as excellent while Old Head Beach, Louisburgh is described as Good.

     

  • A Ballyhaunis company is among five sites listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as National Priority Sites for Enforcement.

    Five sites have been included on the latest list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards - including the Western Brand Group in Ballyhaunis.

    The EPA says these companies face further enforcement action.

    Meanwhile, Aurivo Dairy Ingredients Ltd in Co Roscommon has been removed from the National Priority Site List, following improvements in compliance and reduced risk.

    The EPA has also published its Industrial & Waste Licence Enforcement Report for 2017, which gives details of compliance levels and enforcement activities across 800 licensed facilities.

    22 prosecutions were taken last year, with 16 convictions, and fines worth over  374-thousand euro were issued for failings in industrial waste management.

    The report shows that over 1,000 complaints were received in 2017 about licensed facilities, with 73% of complaints relating to noise and odour.

    Among the top ten most complained-about facilities were the East Galway Residual Landfill site which accounted for 57 complaints, while there were 23 complaints about Shell E&P Ireland Ltd.

  • A Mayo Senator is calling for Government action to help Downpatrick families who have been without a water supply for over ten years.

    Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin raised the issue of 17 Downpatrick families who must go to a pump in Ballycastle for water in the Seanad.

    The project was named a number one priority by Mayo County Council ten years ago, but it was refused funding under the Multi-annual Rural Water Programme 2019-2021 as the cost per unit exceeds the €9,000 per house threshold by €4,500 per house.

    The area is unsuitable for the boring of well water because natural soil conditions make the water untreatable.

    The Mayo Senator expressed her disappointment that a panel comprising of EPA, Irish Water and Department officials, didn’t deem the Downpatrick project worthy of exceptional funding

    Senator Mulherin told Midwest News that she is confident Minister Eoghan Murphy will look into this project and ones like it in more detail.

  • 36 towns and villages across the country are releasing raw sewage into the environment everyday.

    The Environmental Protection Agency says half of the raw sewage comes from just three areas - Arklow, Cobh and Kilmore Quay.

    Mayo areas highlighted in the report include Newport and Killala, while in Galway there’s Roundstone, Spiddal, Carraroe and Ahascragh.

    Waste water treatment in 21 of Ireland's 169 large towns and cities did not meet national and European standards.

    Andy Fanning from the EPA says Irish Water needs to do more to address the country's waste water treatment infrastructure.

    Irish Water has welcomed the report and says it's making an "unprecedented" investment in treating waste water.

    It plans to spend some 400 million euro building treatment plants next year - up from 240 million euro last year.

    Seán Laffey, head of asset management at the utility, says it's making good progress.

  • A Co Roscommon company is among 7 sites nationally failing to meet the necessary environmental standards.

    The EPA has today published its latest National Priority Sites List for Enforcement, of 7 sites across the country failing to meet standards.

    The Arran Chemical Company, based at the Monksland Industrial Estate in Co Roscommon is listed for emissions to air and groundwater contamination.

    The company manufactures products for specific chemical and industrial applications.

    The Environmental Protection Agency updates the National Priority Sites list four times per year, and says it continues to have concerns that issues at some companies have resulted in unacceptable odour, noise, air and water quality impacts.

     

  • The EPA has published its latest National Priority Sites List for Enforcement.

    Seven industrial sites are currently on the list for failing to meet the necessary environmental standards.

    Aurivo Dairy Ingredients Limited in Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon are among the seven sites listed.

    Five sites have come off the previous National Priority Site list following improvements in compliance.

    These include the Shell E&P Ireland Limited site in Bellanaboy and the East Galway Residual Landfill Site near Ballinasloe.