Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies report for 2022 – EPA

  • The quality of drinking water from public supplies remains very high, with over 99.7% of samples compliant with bacterial and chemical limits.
  • 481,000 people are currently served by “at-risk” supplies on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL), up from 374,000 people in 2021.
  • Persistent THM (Trihalomethane) failures were detected at supplies serving 235,000 people, doubling the population affected since 2021.
  • The cumulative risk from lead in our drinking water continues, with insufficient progress reported for 2022. (click here for info on Domestic Lead Remediation Grant Scheme)

The EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies Report 2022 released today, shows that over 99.7% of public water supplies comply with bacterial and chemical limits, which means our public water is safe to drink.

However, many supplies still lack robust treatment measures to guarantee their long-term resilience and safety. The EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) identifies “at-risk” supplies that require improvements to safeguard public health. In 2022, the number of people served by public water supplies on the RAL increased to nearly 481,000, up from 374,000 at the end of 2021.

Construction of a new plant at Lee Road (Cork City) and its removal from the RAL represents significant progress in 2022. Strategic progress has also been made in other areas such as disinfection and making the lead remediation grant easier for the public to access.

Launching the report, Dr Tom Ryan, EPA Director said:

“Our public water quality remains very high, which means that the public can be confident that the drinking water supplied to their homes is safe to drink. Uisce Éireann has made good progress in delivering necessary new drinking water infrastructure such as the new plant at Lee Road in Cork which now supplies high quality drinking water to 97,000 people.

However, the EPA through our inspection and monitoring programme, continues to identify drinking water plants that are at risk and require improvements and upgrades. At the end of 2022, there were 481,000 people being served by at risk supplies on EPA’s RAL. Uisce Éireann needs to prioritise investment in those plants to improve the resilience of drinking supplies, to provide a safe and secure supply into the future.”

In addition, the growing number of people affected by persistent THM (Trihalomethane) failures, now at 235,000 people, is of particular concern.   Greater effort is needed by Uisce Éireann to implement improvements at supplies to minimise exposure to THM’s, including at major supplies such as Limerick City and the Barrow supply in Kildare.

With regard to lead in drinking water, Noel Byrne, EPA Programme Manager, said:

“Lead in our drinking water is a cumulative risk to human health. Progress to remove lead from our drinking water supply networks, public buildings and affected homes is far too slow. The EPA welcomes the expansion of the lead remediation grant scheme, which will ease the financial burden on homeowners to replace lead piping. However, leadership is required at national level to address lead in public supplies. Uisce Éireann must accelerate the rollout of their lead mitigation plan and Government departments must outline their plan for lead replacement in public buildings as part of the National Lead Strategy.”

In 2022, boil water notices impacted 182,000 people — a slight improvement since 2021. One third of boil water notices were in place for more than 30 days. The EPA recognise the challenges that boil water notices pose to individuals and communities, but they are essential to safeguard public health. The risk of boil water notices on some supplies will remain until Uisce Éireann takes proactive measures to address the underlying causes and improve the resilience of these supplies.

The EPA Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies 2022 Report and the complete list of public water supplies currently on the Remedial Action List – including details of the proposed remedial measures and associated timeframes – are available on the EPA website.

Some key findings of the 2022 report on public water supplies:

  • 99.96 per cent of samples comply with microbiological parameter limits.
  • 99.62 per cent of samples comply with chemical parameter limits.
  • 58 supplies were on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) at the end of 2022, compared to 52 at the end of 2021.
  • 79 boil water notices and 10 water restrictions were in place in 2022, affecting almost 191,000 people.
  • 25 of those boil water notices were in place for more than 30 days, meaning they are classed as long-term notices requiring investment in infrastructure to address.
  • E. coli bacteria was detected in three supplies, compared to four supplies in 2021.
  • Trihalomethanes (THM) limits were exceeded in 45 supplies, compared to 58 in 2021.
  • Pesticides limits were exceeded in 17 supplies, compared to 31 in 2021.
  • The EPA issued 14 Directions (legally binding instructions) to Irish Water in 2022.

The EPA has identified the following priorities for Irish Water to address on a national level to protect and improve public water supplies:

  • Progressing action programmes for all Remedial Action List schemes;
  • Ensure that water is free of bacteria;
  • Ensure that water is free of protozoan organisms;
  • Ensure that water is free of chemical substances (trihalomethanes and pesticides);
  • Ensure that water treatment plants are operated correctly;
  • Eliminating lead from our drinking water networks;
  • Managing risks to our public water supplies by adopting Drinking Water Safety Plans for all supplies.

There are currently 58 supply zones serving a population of 480,838. The link to the revised RAL is here.

Remedial Action List at the end of 2022

Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies report for 2022 - EPA

List of the supplies currently on a Boil Water Notice or Water Restriction (on 28/07/2023)

CountySupplyPopulation Affected by Notice
CorkWhiddy Island40
GalwayDunmore/Glenamaddy PWS1
GalwayTuam RWSS1000
KerryAughacasla PWS 005D340
LimerickDoon PWS600
LimerickFoynes/Shannon Estuary PWS6986
MayoClare Island PWS160
TipperaryArdfinnan Regional11,364
TipperaryBurncourt Ballylooby1728
TipperaryBurncourt Regional1857
TipperaryClonmel Poulavanogue96
TipperaryGaltee Regional15,795
TipperaryGaltee Regional46
TipperaryThurles Regional Water Supply11,394
WaterfordEast Waterford Water Supply Scheme3
WicklowBallymorris Public Supply17
WicklowJohnstown South (Arklow) Public Supply6
Total 51,579

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