The Irish EPA Water Quality report published recently, accesses the quality of Ireland’s water table as well as rivers, lakes and estuary waters and found they continue to be under pressure from agriculture or other human activities.
According to the report, high levels of nitrates are now being detected in water supplies particularly in the south of Ireland. High levels of nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus pose a serious threat to water quality.
High levels of nitrate in well water often result from proximity to intensive farms, overuse of chemical fertilizers, or improper disposal of farm animal waste.
Many well known rivers such as the River Bandon, River Lee, River Blackwater, River Suir, River Nore, River Barrow, River Deel, River Slaney, River Maigue have nitrogen levels that pose a significant problem for the marine environments they flow into.
High nitrate levels in underground water supplies pose a risk to human health also.
Householders and anyone using a private water well in areas of intensive dairy farming such as in Co Cork, Co Limerick, Co Tipperary and the Golden Vale region, should have the well water tested for pollution from farms or other sources.
We recommend that private water wells be tested regularly for pollution from farms, particularly dairy farms and also potential pollution from septic tanks.