Ireland fails to meet water quality targets – EPA
Improvements to Ireland’s surface water quality have not been achieved, the EPA has said in a new report.
Pesticides and herbicides The level of pollution from hazardous substances is low, although some pesticides and herbicides, including Mecoprop, MCPA and 2,4-D, have been detected by the EPA at low levels in a significant number of rivers during routine monitoring.
From 2013 to 2015, an analysis focused on the screening of 14 substances totalling 9,464 measurements.
Overall, there were 395 samples with pesticide detections (4.2%) affecting 72 of the 85 rivers assessed.
MCPA was the most widely observed substance, detected in almost two-thirds of all rivers surveyed.
Fish kills The EPA highlights that there has been an increase in the number of reported fish kills, with 97 reported between 2013 and 2015, an increase of 27 on the number reported between 2007 and 2009.
Human activities The EPA has been undertaking an assessment of the effect of human activities on the water environment over the past three years.
Nutrient losses from agriculture and domestic wastewater discharges are the primary reasons why the water quality objectives of the WFD will not be met.
In relation to agriculture, the EPA said that the pressures relate to diffuse nutrient run-off (phosphorus and nitrogen) and sediment from land, and point source pollution associated with farmyards.