Excessive level of pesticides detected in Connemara water supply

Galway Daily news

Excessive levels of pesticides have been detected in the Tully-Tullycross Public Water Supply in the latest testing carried out by the EPA.

After a year of clean results the Tully-Tullycross supply has been put back on the EPA’s pesticides watch list due to having above the legal limit of the pesticide MCPA.

While the levels of pesticides detected in the water supply do not currently pose a threat to human health they are above the legally permitted limit for drinking water supplies, which is set extremely low.

The regulations are so stringent that a single drop of pesticide is enough to breach the drinking water limit in a small stream for up to 30 kilometres.

The National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group and Irish Water are appealing to farmers, sports groups, and other organisation to use caution when spraying.

“Supplies such as the Tully-Tullycross public water supplies are vulnerable to contamination from land and animal run-off,” said Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist.

“Irish Water asks users of pesticide products in the local catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supply to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local community.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency MCPA, commonly used to kill rushes on wet land, accounts for more than 75% percent of pesticide breaches they detect in drinking water supplies, but other offenders include fluroxypyr and 2,4-D.

Dr Aidan Moody, Chair of the NPDWAG commented that A lot of good work has been done and progress has been made. The continued engagement of all stakeholders, working in partnership, is needed to make further progress.”

“Users of pesticides should always consider in the first instance if there are alternative non-chemical weed/pest control methods that would be feasible.”

“If pesticides have to be applied users must make sure that they are aware of and follow best practice measures to protect water quality.”