North Roscommon water supply has cancerous toxins

A water supply serving more than 5,000 people in north Roscommon has been found to have almost twice the EU permitted level of trihalomethanes (THMs) – environment pollutants that are linked to cancer.

  Water quality reports released by Irish Water, under the Freedom of Information Act, show that the North East Roscommon Water Supply Scheme is significantly non-compliant with regard to the toxins.

  The EU permitted levels of THMs are 100 micrograms per litre. Yet on three occasions over the past seven months, the supply had readings far higher: 191 on December 7th last; 175 on March 29th; and 192 on May 17th.

  The supply serves 5,017 people in Tarmonbarry, Rooskey, Elphin, Strokestown and surrounding areas.

  It is currently subject to a ‘boil water’ because of the detection of cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes a diarrhoeal disease.

  The Environment Protection Agency said that it was “aware of the non-compliances in this supply and Irish Water has submitted an action programme for this supply”.

  “The supply is to be replaced with a new treatment plant by December 2017,” they added. “UV has been installed as an interim measure and its effectiveness is currently being validated.”

  THMs are typically formed by the reaction of chlorine, which is used to disinfect drinking water, with natural organic matter, such as twigs or leaves, which pay be present in the water.

  Irish Water said that, for the first time in Ireland, it had put in place a prioritised programme of investment that would 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,” they added.

  “This includes an investment of €320 million by Irish Water in upgrading water supplies which are at risk from THMs.”