Excess pesticides detected in public water supply in Offaly region
An excess of pesticides has been detected in a public water supply network in a district of Offaly.
An exceedance of the pesticide MCPA has been detected in Rhode’s public water supply system.
The detection was recently seen following zero overruns in Offaly’s public drinking water supplies in 2019 and 2020.
Irish Water urges home gardeners, farmers, gardeners and other users of pesticide products to consider the environment and the need to use pesticides in the first place.
Irish Water asks users of any herbicide or pesticide in the River Boyne catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supply to pesticide contamination and the importance of that supply to homes and businesses local to the community.
Irish Water, working in partnership with a range of organizations involved in the NPDWAG, is asking the farming community, green space custodians, groundskeepers, as well as domestic users of pesticides, to consider in each case s they need to use pesticides. Minimizing the use of pesticides not only helps protect water quality, but also has wider environmental benefits. For example, leaving areas unsprayed can help native flowering plant species thrive and support a range of insects, including bees and other vital pollinators. A third of Ireland’s bee species are threatened with extinction and by helping the bee population to 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, see the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan at www.pollinators.ie. Farmers should also bear in mind that the application of herbicides reduces plant species diversity and could have a negative impact on payments under future agri-environment schemes.
When the use of pesticides is deemed necessary, the NPDWAG works with local communities to ensure that best practices to protect drinking water sources and biodiversity are always followed. Farmers and other landowners facing the rush challenge should take note of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine (DAFM) guidelines on sustainable rush management. This approach is based on the concepts of containment or suppression, and aims to minimize the use of pesticides. More information on this can be obtained from your local agricultural adviser or at www.pcs.agriculture.gov.ie/sud/waterprotection
The NPDWAG is chaired by DAFM and involves key stakeholders from a range of government departments and agencies, local authorities, industry representative bodies, agricultural organizations, water and equipment sector organisations.
Andrew Boylan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist, said: “In Co Offaly, exceedance of drinking water regulations for MCPA has been noted in Rhode Public Water Supply following from routine sampling last year. Whilst our consultation with the HSE has concluded that the levels observed do not pose a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and therefore imperative that pesticide users are aware of best practice when using herbicides or pesticides and look for alternatives.
Adding to this, Dr Aidan Moody, DAFM and Chairman of NPDWAG, said, “We need the continued commitment of all stakeholders, working in partnership, to make further progress. Pesticide users should always consider alternatives first and if pesticide application is considered essential, ensure they are following best practices to protect water quality.