There were 81 pesticide exceedances in public drinking water supplies in Ireland in 2020, an increase of 5 from 2019. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

MCPA is still the most commonly detected pesticide in drinking water sources according to Irish Water. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes.

The National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG) is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products to consider the vulnerability of their local drinking water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

There are currently six priority catchment areas of particular concern where Irish Water is seeing frequent pesticide exceedances from our monitoring programmes. These are Longford Central, Co Longford (MCPA), Newcastlewest, Co Limerick (MCPA), Belturbet, Co Cavan (MCPA), Clonroche, Co Wexford (Bentazone), Newport, Co Mayo (Glyphosate/MCPA) and Foynes Shannon Estuary, Co Limerick. All of these areas are being prioritised for action by members of the NPDWAG.

Irish Water, working in partnership with a range of organisations involved in the NPDWAG, is asking the farming community, greens keepers, grounds keepers, and domestic users, to consider in each case whether they need to use pesticides at all. Minimising pesticide use not only helps to protect water quality but also has wider environmental benefits. For example, leaving areas unsprayed can help native flowering plant species to grow and support a range of insects including bees and other vital pollinators. One third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction and by helping the bee population survive and thrive we are also helping to protect our precious water sources. For more information on practical ways to help bees and other pollinators, check out the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.

Where pesticide use is considered necessary, the NPDWAG is working with the community to ensure that best practice measures to protect drinking water sources and biodiversity are always followed. Farmers and other landholders dealing with the challenge of tackling rushes should note that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has developed new guidance on the sustainable management of rushes. The new approach is based on the concepts of containment or suppression, and aims to minimise the use of pesticides. More information on this can be obtained from your local farm advisor or on www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/sud/waterprotection.

The efforts to reduce the incidence and level of these detections are being coordinated by the NPDWAG. This group is chaired by the DAFM. All of the key stakeholders are represented in this group and include other Government departments and agencies; local authorities; industry representative bodies; farming organisations; water sector organisations; and amenity sector organisations. 

John Leamy, Irish Water’s Drinking Water Compliance Lead said: “In public drinking water supplies, exceedances for pesticides were detected 76 times in 2019 and 81 in 2020, which represents a rise of 5 exceedances.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels we are detecting do not represent a threat to public health, they are however undesirable in drinking water and it is therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Adding to this, Dr Aidan Moody, DAFM and Chair of NPDWAG commented: “The continued engagement of all stakeholders, working in partnership, is needed to tackle this issue. Users of pesticides should always consider alternatives in the first instance and if the application of pesticides are considered essential make sure that they are aware of the best practice measures that should be followed to protect water quality.

Recent drinking water monitoring results for Ireland show that a number of active substances contained in herbicide products used in agriculture, amenity and gardens, such as 2,4-D, Fluroxypyr, Glyphosate, MCPA, Mecoprop and Triclopyr, are being regularly detected.

If pesticides have to be used, the basic steps to reduce risks to drinking water sources and the aquatic environment are:

  • Choose the right pesticide product (note that products containing MCPA are NOT approved for use in weed-wipers.)
  • Read and follow the product label
  • Determine the right amount to purchase and use
  • Don’t use pesticides if rain is forecast in the next 48 hours
  • Make sure you are aware of the location of all nearby water courses
  • Comply with any buffer zone specified on the product label to protect the aquatic environment. Mark out the specified buffer zone from the edge of the river or lake or other water course and drainage ditches
  • Avoid spills, stay well back from open drains and rinse empty containers 3 times into the sprayer.
  • Store and dispose of pesticides and their containers properly.
  • Never fill a sprayer directly from a water course or carry out mixing, loading or other handling operations beside a water course

Further guidance:

One exceedance each for the pesticides, Glyphosate, Metaldehyde and 2,4-D has been detected in the public drinking water supply in the Carlow Town and Hackettstown water supply areas, Co. Carlow over the course of 2019 and 2020. 

The Carlow Town water supply abstracts raw water from the River Slaney and Burren. The Hackettstown water supply abstracts raw water from the Mill Run River, all of which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the River Slaney, Burren and Mill Run catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Pat Duggan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Carlow, one exceedance each of the drinking water regulations was recorded for Metaldehyde and Glyphosate in the Carlow Town public water supply following routine sampling in 2019 ad 2020 respectively. One exceedance for 2,4-D was recorded for the Hackettstown water supply in 2020. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Fifteen exceedances for the pesticide MCPA were detected in the public drinking water supplies in Arvagh in 2020, in Ballyjamesduff and Cavan in 2019 and in Belturbet in 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

Arvagh, Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet and Cavan drinking water supplies abstract raw water from Garty Lough, Nadrageel Lough, River Erne and Lough Acanon Dam respectively, all of which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr. Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Cavan, the exceedances of the drinking water regulations for MCPA were noted in the Arvagh, Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet and Cavan public water supplies following routine sampling. What’s disappointing is that there were no exceedances in the Arvagh catchment in 2019, however there were four in 2020.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Exceedances for the pesticide MCPA has been detected in the water supplies for Ennis and Shannon/Sixmilebridge during 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. This exceedance was detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Ennis water supply abstracts raw water from Drumcliffe Springs, part of the Fergus River catchment, while the Shannon/Sixmilebridge supply is sourced in Castle Lake, part of the River Ahaclare catchment. As these catchments are vulnerable to runoff from land, Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Exceedances for pesticides including MCPA, 2,4-D, Mecoprop, Fluroxypyr, Glyphosate and Triclopyr were all detected in water supplies in County Cork in 2019 and 2020. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG) is asking users of any herbicide, or pesticide products to consider the vulnerability of their local drinking water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

In Cork, the water supplies with pesticide exceedances were Bantry/Cahernacrin (MCPA exceedance), Glanmire (MCPA, 2,4-D, Fluroxypyr and Mecoprop exceedances), Glashaboy (MCPA, Mecoprop and Triclopyr exceedances), Glengarriff (Triclopyr exceendance) and Macroom (Glyphosate exceedance).

The Bantry/Cahernacrin water supply abstracts raw water from the Inchilough river and Drombrow lake, part of the Inchilough river catchment; the Glanmire water supply abstracts raw water from Coolquesk Bridge, Kilquana Bridge, Butlerstown and the Butlerstown river tributary, part of the Butlerstown River catchment; the Glashaboy water supply abstracts raw water from the Glashaboy river, part of the Glashaboy river catchment; the Glengarriff water supply abstracts raw water from the Barony river, part of the Barony river catchment and the Macroom water supply abstracts raw water from the River Sullane, part of the River Lee catchment. As these catchments are vulnerable to runoff from land, Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Deirdre O’Loughlin, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In County Cork, there were exceedances of the drinking water regulations for MCPA, 2,4-D, Fluroxypr, Mecoprop, Triclopyr and Glyphosate in public water supplies following routine sampling. While our consultation with the HSE concluded that the levels seen did not represent a threat to public health, they are undesirable, and it is imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Adding to this, Dr Aidan Moody, DAFM and Chair of NPDWAG commented: “The continued engagement of all stakeholders, working in partnership, is needed to tackle this issue. Users of pesticides should always consider alternatives in the first instance and if the application of pesticides are considered essential make sure that they are aware of the best practice measures that should be followed to protect water quality.”

Ten exceedances for the pesticides 2,4-D and MCPA were detected in the public drinking water supplies in Ballymagroarty and Donegal (River Eske) in 2020 and in Fanad East (Shannagh) in 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

Ballymagroarty, Donegal (River Eske) and Fanad East (Shannagh) drinking water supplies abstract raw water from Lough Gorman, River Eske and Shannagh Lake respectively, all of which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Donegal, the exceedances of the drinking water regulations for pesticides were noted in the Ballymagroarty, Donegal (River Eske) and Fanad East (Shannagh) public water supplies following routine sampling. What’s disappointing is that there were no exceedances in the Ballymagroarty or Donegal (River Eske) catchments in 2019, however there were two in 2020.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

An exceedance for the pesticide 2,4-D has been detected in the public drinking water supply in the city’s water supply. The exceedance was detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The water supply abstracts raw water from River Liffey which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the Liffey catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said, “In Dublin, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for 2,4-D was noted in the supply following routine sampling in August last year. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Nine exceedance for the pesticides MCPA, glyphosate and 2,4-D were detected in the public drinking water supplies in Ballinasloe and Tully-Tullycross in 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Ballinasloe water supply abstracts raw water from the River Suck and the Tully-Tullycross drinking water supply is abstracted from the River Tully, both of which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Galway, the exceedances of the drinking water regulations for MCPA, glyphosate and 2,4-D were noted in the Ballinasloe and Tully-Tullycross public water supplies following routine sampling. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Exceedances for pesticides including Glyphosate and MCPA were detected in water supplies in County Kerry in 2019 and 2020. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG) is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products to consider the vulnerability of their local drinking water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

In Kerry, the water supplies with pesticide exceedances in 2019 and 2020 were Caragh Lake (Glyphosate exceedance in 2020), Listowel (Glyphosate exceedance in 2019 and 4 separate MCPA exceedances in 2020) and Lyreacrompane (MCPA exceedance in 2019).

The Caragh Lake water supply abstracts raw water from Lough Cummernamuck, part of the Caragh River catchment; the Listowel water supply abstracts raw water from the river Feale, on the Feale River catchment and the Lyreacrompane water supply abstracts raw water from the Smearlagh River, part of the Feale River catchment. As these catchments are vulnerable to runoff from land, Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Deirdre O’Loughlin, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In County Kerry, there were exceedances of the drinking water regulations for MCPA and Glyphosate detected in public water supplies following routine sampling. While our consultation with the HSE concluded that the levels seen did not represent a threat to public health, they are undesirable, and it is imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Adding to this, Dr Aidan Moody, DAFM and Chair of NPDWAG commented: “The continued engagement of all stakeholders, working in partnership, is needed to tackle this issue. Users of pesticides should always consider alternatives in the first instance and if the application of pesticides are considered essential make sure that they are aware of the best practice measures that should be followed to protect water quality.

There were no exceedances for pesticides in the public drinking water supplies in Co. Kildare in 2019 and 2020, Irish Water has confirmed. However, the utility is urging domestic gardeners, farmers, grounds keepers and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and whether pesticide use is necessary in the first instance.

MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. However it often ends up in drinking water supplies. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in Co Kildare to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Kildare, there have been no exceedances for pesticides in the past two years which is good news. 

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels of pesticides that are being detected in drinking water supplies across the country do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

There were no exceedances for pesticides in the public drinking water supplies in Co Laois in 2019 and 2020, Irish Water has confirmed. However, the utility is urging domestic gardeners, farmers, grounds keepers and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and whether pesticide use is necessary in the first instance.

MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. However it often ends up in drinking water supplies. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in Co Laois to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Laois, there have been no exceedances for pesticides in the past two years which is good news. 

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels of pesticides that are being detected in drinking water supplies across the country do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Four exceedances for the pesticide glyphosate were detected in the public drinking water supplies in North and South Leitrim in 2020. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme. Recent drinking water monitoring results for Ireland show that a number of active substances contained in herbicide products used in agriculture, amenity and gardens, such as 2,4-D, fluroxypyr, glyphosate, MCPA, mecoprop and triclopyr, are being regularly detected.

The North and South Leitrim water supplies abstract raw water from Moneyduff Lough Gill and the River Shannon respectively, both of which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Leitrim, the exceedances of the drinking water regulations for glyphosate were noted in the North and South Leitrim public water supplies following routine sampling. What’s disappointing is that there were no exceedances in the county in 2019, however there were four in 2020.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Fourteen exceedance for pesticides including MCPA, Mecoprop and 2,4-D have been detected in the public drinking water supplies in Newcastle West and Foynes-Shannon Estuary during 2019 and 2020. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

Both water supplies abstract raw water from the River Deel which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the River Deel catchment are being asked to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.

A number of exceedances for the pesticide MCPA have been detected in the Longford Central drinking water supply while one exceedance was detected in the Granard public water supply in Co Longford. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes. The exceedance was detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Longford central water supply abstracts raw water from Lough Forbes which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the Lough Forbes catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said, “In Co. Longford, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA was noted in the Longford Central public water supply following routine sampling in July, August and October last year and the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA was noted in the Granard public water supply following routine sampling in September. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

 

A number of exceedances for the pesticide MCPA have been detected in the public drinking water supply in Staleen and Cavanhill, Co Louth. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes. In addition there were one off exceedances for Metazachlor for Cavanhill and Glphosate for Staleen. The exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

Both the treatment plants at Staleen and Cavanhill abstract raw water from the River Boyne and the River Fane respectively, which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said, “In Co. Louth, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA was noted in the Cavanhill public water supply following routine sampling in June, July and October last year and in the Staleen water supply in May and October last year. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Fifteen exceedance for the pesticides MCPA and glyphosate were detected in the public drinking water supplies in Louisburgh and Newport in 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Newport water supply abstracts raw water from the Newport River and the Louisburgh drinking water supply is abstracted from the Bunnahowen River both of which are vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Mayo, the exceedances of the drinking water regulations for MCPA and glyphosate were noted in the Newport and Louisburgh public water supplies following routine sampling. What’s disappointing is that there were no exceedances in the Louisburgh catchment in 2019, however there were three in 2020.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

An exceedance for the pesticide MCPA has been detected in the public drinking water supply in Navan Mid Meath, Co Meath. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes. The exceedance was detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Navan Mid Meath public water supply abstracts raw water from the River Boyne which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Lead said, “In Co. Meath, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA was noted in the Navan Mid Meath public water supply following routine sampling in May, last year. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Eleven exceedances for the pesticide MCPA were detected in the public drinking water supplies in Emyvale and Glaslough in 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

Emyvale and Glaslough drinking water supplies both abstract raw water from Emy Lough, which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Monaghan, the exceedances of the drinking water regulations for MCPA were noted in the Emyvale and Glaslough public water supplies following routine sampling. What’s disappointing is that number of incidents in Emyvale drinking water supply remained the same in 2019 and in 2020 showing no improvement.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

There were no exceedances for pesticides in the public drinking water supplies in Co Offaly in 2020, Irish Water has confirmed. There was an exceedance for 2,4-D and MCPA in the Clara Ferbane public water supply in 2019. The utility is urging domestic gardeners, farmers, grounds keepers and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and whether pesticide use is necessary in the first instance.

MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. However it often ends up in drinking water supplies. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in Co Offaly to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Offaly, there have been no exceedances for pesticides in the past two years which is good news. 

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels of pesticides that are being detected in drinking water supplies across the country do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

There were no exceedances for pesticides in the public drinking water supplies in Co Roscommon in 2019 and 2020, Irish Water has confirmed. However, the utility is urging domestic gardeners, farmers, grounds keepers and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and whether pesticide use is necessary in the first instance.

MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. However it often ends up in drinking water supplies. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in Co. Roscommon to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Roscommon, there have been no exceedances for pesticides in the past two years which is good news.  

“While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels of pesticides that are being detected in drinking water supplies across the country do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.”

An exceedance for the pesticide MCPA was detected in the Kilsellagh public drinking water supply in 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

Kilsellagh drinking water supply abstracts raw water from Kilsellagh Impounding Reservoir, which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Sligo, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA was noted in the Kilsellagh public water supply following routine sampling. What’s disappointing is that there was no pesticide exceedance in 2019.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Three exceedance for the pesticides MCPA were detected in the public drinking water supply in Dundrum in 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. One exceedance each of the pesticides 2,4-D and glyphosate were also detected in the supply. These exceedances were detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Dundrum Regional Water Supply abstracts raw water from the Multeen River which is vulnerable to runoff from land. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in these catchments to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Irish Water, working in partnership with a range of organisations involved in the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG), is asking the farming community, greens keepers, grounds keepers, and domestic users, to consider in each case whether they need to use pesticides at all. Minimising pesticide use not only helps to protect water quality but also has wider environmental benefits. For example, leaving areas unsprayed can help native flowering plant species to grow and support a range of insects including bees and other vital pollinators. One third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction and by helping the bee population survive and thrive we are also helping to protect our precious water sources. For more information on practical ways to help bees and other pollinators, check out the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.

Where pesticide use is considered necessary, the NPDWAG is working with the community to ensure that best practice measures to protect drinking water sources and biodiversity are always followed. Farmers and other landholders dealing with the challenge of tackling rushes should note that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) has developed new guidance on the sustainable management of rushes. The new approach is based on the concepts of containment or suppression, and aims to minimise the use of pesticides. More information on this can be obtained from your local farm advisor or on www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/sud/waterprotection.

The efforts to reduce the incidence and level of these detections are being coordinated by the NPDWAG. This group is chaired by the DAFM. All of the key stakeholders are represented in this group and include other Government departments and agencies; local authorities; industry representative bodies; farming organisations; water sector organisations; and amenity sector organisations. 

Pat Duggan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: "While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

There were no exceedances for pesticides in the public drinking water supplies in Co Westmeath in 2019 and 2020, Irish Water has confirmed. However, the utility is urging domestic gardeners, farmers, grounds keepers and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and whether pesticide use is necessary in the first instance.

MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. However it often ends up in drinking water supplies. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in Co Westmeath to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co Westmeath, there have been no exceedances for pesticides in the past two years which is good news.

While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels of pesticides that are being detected in drinking water supplies across the country do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

Pesticide exceedances for Bentazone, Glyphosphate, 2,4-D, Fluroxypyrn, MCPA, Metaldhyde and Tricloypr have been detected in the public drinking water supply in four water supply areas in Co. Wexford across 2019 and 2020. MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes. The exceedance was detected as part of Irish Water’s public water supply monitoring programme.

The Clonroche, Davidstown, South Regional Supply Scheme and Wexford Town water supply were the supply areas that showed exceedances across 2019 and 2020. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the River Sow at Edenvale, Coolree Reservoir and the Owenduff River as well as users in the Clonroche and Davidstown catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Pat Duggan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Wexford, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA, Bentazone, Glyphosate, 2,4-D, Metaldehyde and Triclopyr was dedicated in four drinking water supplies. There were seven detections in 2019 and nine in 2020 across those water supply areas. While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.

There were no exceedances for pesticides in the public drinking water supplies in Co. Wicklow in 2019 and 2020, Irish Water has confirmed. However, the utility is urging domestic gardeners, farmers, grounds keepers and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and whether pesticide use is necessary in the first instance.

MCPA is an active substance present in many commonly used herbicide products used to control the growth of thistles, docks and rushes and remains the most commonly detected pesticide in Ireland. However it often ends up in drinking water supplies. Irish Water is asking users of any herbicide or pesticide products in Co Wicklow to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of these supplies to the local homes and businesses in the community.

Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist said: “In Co. Wicklow, there have been no exceedances for pesticides in the past two years which is good news. 

“While our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels of pesticides that are being detected in drinking water supplies across the country do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and seek out alternatives.”

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