October 29, 2020

Ring water supply ‘no longer has an issue’ with Trihalomethane (THM): Irish Water  

A water supply in county Waterford that was found to contain over nine times the recommended World Health Organisation (WHO) and EU levels for a dangerous chemical produced by treating dirty supplies no longer has an issue with Trihalomethane (THM), Irish Water has confirmed.

Last Friday, WaterfordNow.ie reported that high levels of THM in the water supply in Ring were identified in a submission to the European Commission by the Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) group.

In a statement to WaterfordNow.ie, Irish Water confirmed the old Ring Helvick Water Supply Scheme was listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Remedial Action List (RAL) for THMs, but it clarified that the “file has been closed by the EPA since November 2019”.

Earlier this month it emerged the EU has put Ireland on a four-month deadline to solve a chemical contamination problem that affects the drinking water supply of up to 180,000 people across the country.

In a warning, the commission said the continued exposure of people to THM was a health risk and a breach of the Drinking Water Directive.

It said Ireland had been in breach of the directive since 2003 and progress to address the problem was not sufficient. If the situation is not remedied within four months, the case could be referred to the European Court of Justice.

“High THM levels have been linked to liver, kidneys and central nervous system diseases, bladder and colon cancer risks, as well as to effects on foetal growth, foetal viability and risks of foetal malformations,” the Commission’s notice stated.

In a complaint about THM lodged to the Commission, the Friends of the Irish Environment group called for customers to be informed of any exceedances in their water supply so that they can act to protect themselves.

“Consumers with supplies over the World Health Organisation levels can use simple charcoal filters to ensure that THMs are removed. They will not do this, however, unless they are made aware of the danger,” it said.

FIE said its 2011 submission showed that 24 counties had supplies breaching EU and WHO THM limits, with 14 counties having supplies double the THM limit.

Cork, Kerry, Donegal and Wicklow recorded the greatest exceedances, according to the group.

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