With the publication of recent research on the link between bladder cancer and THM’s in public drinking water supplies in Ireland, it’s important that households consider the benefits of installing a water filter in their home.
Research carried out by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Europe, shows that up to 5% or more of bladder cancers in Ireland and some other EU countries could be attributed to the use of disinfectant products like chlorine in the chlorination of drinking water. Chlorine appears to be the most widely used disinfectant used in the purification of drinking water by public water utilities. However, when surface water (from rivers or lakes) is used for public water supplies, free chlorine can react with organic compounds (such as vegetation) in the water creating byproducts known as THM’s (Trihalomethanes), which are associated with bladder cancer.
It should be noted that there is no unequivocal evidence that THMs cause bladder cancer, only a link and that the health benefits of water disinfection and chlorination far outweigh a small increase in the risk of bladder cancer.
However, as Ireland is one of nine countries that exceed current average THMs levels in drinking water according to the research, it could lead to an increase in the number of bladder cancer cases unless measures are adopted to optimise water treatment and disinfection without compromising the microbiological quality of drinking water. Households could include additional filtration such as point-of-use water filters or a whole-house water filter systems in their homes, or even a simple filter jug would help remove the chlorination by-products.
As public water supplies are generally very high quality in most parts of Ireland already, installing a quality under-sink water filter (point-of-use) or whole house water filtration system will purify the water even further and provide long term protection as well all the health benefits of drinking pure clean water.
The EU Commission has opened an infringement case against Ireland for failure to ensure that drinking water for over 500,000 Irish consumers is safe from a chemical known to be linked to cancer and other health issues.
The Commission sent the formal notice letter to Ireland for failing to fulfil its obligations under the European Union Drinking Water Directive by allowing excessive levels of Trihalomethanes (THM’s) in some Irish drinking water.
According to the Commission, the Irish authorities had “not taken appropriate actions” to reduce THM values. The Commission is also pursuing the Irish state for failing to notify consumers of the health implications as required under the EU Directive. For households worried about THMs and other chemical contaminants in their drinking water, a quality under-sink water filter or filtration system will purify the water for drinking and provide long term protection and peace of mind…more
Approximately 20% of the population get their drinking water from private supplies, including group water schemes or private wells. In 2016, a lack of monitoring by local authorities resulted in 126 boil water notices being imposed on private water supplies which affected around 7,000 people.
The EPA has criticised the way E.coli testing of private water supplies is done by local authorities. E.coli is a faecal bacteria from animal or human waste which, when ingested, lives in the gut and causes abdominal cramping, watery diarrhoea that may change to bloody stools, and eventually a fever. In can be fatal in people who are sick or the elderly. According to the EPA, E.coli testing was not reported at over 800 private water supplies serving commercial buildings like hotels, B&Bs, pubs or public buildings [like schools, crèches, campsites, nursing homes etc]. These supplies are often more likely to be contaminated with E-Coli.
For homeowners and households worried about contamination in their drinking water supplies, we recommend the installation of a quality point of use water filter or wholehouse water filtration system.
According to a report in the Limerick Leader newspaper, some residents in the village of Ardagh have been unable to drink their tap water for the past few months because of the smell of petrol in the drinking water. The problem appears to be worse when the water is heated.
Irish Water have apparently wrote to residents telling them that the HSE advice was “not to drink the water or use it for prepared food, ice making or brushing of teeth.”
“However, unless any petrol type odour is noted, this water can be used for toilet flushing bathing, showering, laundry and dishwashing.”
For households worried about contamination in their drinking water supplies, we recommend the installation of a quality point of use water filter or wholehouse water filtration system…Read More
The Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published the results of research which shows for the first time, evidence on the sources and scale of microplastic pollution in Irish freshwater. The research which was led by researchers in the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), also points to a number of potential impacts of microplastics in Irish waters to both humans and other species.
The increase in plastic production and disposal in recent decades has resulted in plastic litter becoming an increasing environmental concern and problem. Microplastics are a contributor to this plastic litter. Microplastics are defined as plastic particles less than 5mm in diameter, formed either through the breakdown of large plastic particles or through intentional production (as microbead scrubbers) in products such as cosmetics and household cleaning products. Wastewater treatment facilities are not designed to filter out or remove microplastics so these non-biodegradable micro-particles can end up in rivers and oceans, potentially entering the human food chain. As a home owner, if you are worried about potential plastic micropolutants in your drinking water supply, we recommend the installation of a quality point of use water filter or wholehouse water filtration system. Read more…
Private drinking water supplies including those serving rural schools, hotels and hospitals have some of Ireland’s worst quality water, the Irish Environmental Protection Agency has warned. The new report form the EPA, shows that small private wells, including those in Co Limerick, have the worst E.coli contamination levels – significantly behind group water schemes and public water supplies. Private water wells on or close to dairy farms where animal and cow slurry is stored or spread are particularly vulnerable to contamination from E-coli. As well as slurry seeping into the ground, other sources of contamination include leaky well covers, foul surface water, slurry leaking into rivers and streams and pollution from household septic tanks, chemical or fuel storage.
To protect your family health and ensure safe drinking water from a private water well, a water filtration system is a sound investment. For home owners with their own private water well, a grant of up 75% of the cost subject to a maximum of €2031.58 is available from the Department of Housing Planning Community and Local Government to assist with protecting and maintaining their household water well or installing basic treatment like disinfection or filtration systems. Click here to download or read the full EPA report.
Many drinking water treatment plants throughout Ireland are in poor condition and facing failure according to Irish Water. Because of stringent new quality guidelines, water is now tested up to six times a year and Irish Water intends to shut down plants and issue boil-water notices if problems emerge. This is unlike how water treatment plants operated in the past, where boil-water notices were implemented after problems were discovered. For many homes in rural areas, a home water filter system would be a good investment in improving the quality of drinking water as well as a safeguard if and when boil water notices are issued. Read More…
Limerick has been chosen as the test site by Irish Water to use a chemical called Orthophosphate which is hoped will reduce the amount of lead leaking into the city’s drinking water supplies. While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends lead in the water should be combated by replacing the lead piping, it has acknowledged adding Orthophosphate to the supply could be a temporary solution. A safer solution is to add a filtration system to remove lead and other metals from drinking water. Limerick was chosen because it is on the Shannon estuary and not near fresh water bodies. The chemical Orthophosphate is classified as a phosphate (as in fertilisers) and can cause blue-green algae blooms in fresh water, a phenomenon that is already occurring on Lough Derg due to the over-use of fertilisers and subsequent run-off from farm land. Blue-green algae blooms in fresh water can produce potentially toxic cyanobacteria, which is a threat to human health. Pets and wildlife can die as a result of drinking water contaminated with cyanobacteria from algae blooms. In humans, contaminated water can cause acute stomach illness and skin rashes. With algae growth only set to rise, thanks in part to global climate change and the over-use of fertilisers in farming, the impact of its growth on human drinking water is a growing concern. Because Limerick is on an estuary, Irish Water say it is safe to add it to the city water supply…Read More (PDF)
Since around 2009, a boil water notice has been in effect for many Co. Roscommon homes. However, even though the boil water notice has just been lifted, one business insists they will keep their new water filtration system. The lifting of the boil water notice follows inspections at the Killeglan and Castlerea water treatment plants by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency. Some customers in Roscommon have had to boil water during this period to make it safe to drink..Read More (PDF)
Removing lead from water with a tap filter is an affordable option for Irish homeowners who are caught with lead piping in their homes. In a recent article in the Irish Times, it shows that different types of water filters remove different types of contamination. This means that those planning to tackle lead contamination in drinking water, need to check that the filter is the right one for removing lead from water. There are many types of potential contaminants (dirt, chemicals, metals, bacteria etc.) in drinking water and there are specially designed filters to reduce or remove these contaminants. Read More (PDF)