Irish Water has completed an upgrade to the Smear Water Treatment Plant. The investment at the plant included improvements to the treatment of the raw water at Lough Gowna which will assist in the reduction of Trihalomethanes (THMs) formation in the water supply. This investment, the disinfection programme that is currently underway at the plant and the raw water monitoring programme that has been in operation since March 2016 will help to remove the Smear Water Treatment Plant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Remedial Action List (RAL).

For the first time in Ireland, Irish Water has put in place a prioritised programme of investment which will address all inadequacies in drinking water parameters including THMs. The Irish Water Business Plan up to 2021 sets out a clear commitment to reduce the number of schemes on the EPA Remedial Action List to zero. This includes an investment of €320 million by Irish Water in upgrading water supplies which are at risk from THMs. The upgrade at the Smear Water Treatment Plant forms part of this investment.

Trihalomethanes or THMs are typically formed by the reaction of chlorine (used to disinfect drinking water) with natural organic matter including algae, twigs or leaves etc. which may be present in the water. Approximately 380,000 customers are connected to schemes listed on the EPA Remedial Action List which have exceeded the EPA limit for THMs.

The presence of Trihalomethanes (THMs) in the drinking water supply can pose a long term health risk. Irish Water recognises the scale of this challenge and are currently implementing a five year plan to address this legacy issue. We report to the European Commission on a quarterly basis on our progress. 

Commenting on the investment Padraig Farrell, Capital Programme Lead, East and Midlands Region, said “The investment at the Smear Water Treatment Plant will improve the drinking water quality for customers. Irish Water as a national utility has developed the capability to take a nationwide approach to protecting and safeguarding drinking water for communities”.

Full details of all drinking water parameters for all water supplies nationally are available on our Drinking Water Quality page.

Cavan, Longford

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