Several water sources in Kerry have an excess of chemicals known as trihalomethanes present.
That’s according to an article in the Irish Examiner which says drinking water for more than 400,000 people nationwide is contaminated with chemicals linked to cancer.
Irish Water says it reports all cases of where safe THM levels are exceeded; passes on the information to the HSE, and requests its advice in relation to protecting public health.
The affected water sources are in various parts of the country, with several in Kerry and Cork, Kilkenny City, Waterford, Wicklow, Meath, Mayo, Roscommon, Donegal, and Galway. Following complaints from Friends of the Irish Environment, the European Commission agreed last December a timescale to clean up the 79 water supply zones still affected by THMs. The action plan, with a final deadline of 2021, includes upgrading some treatment plants and shutting down others, and increasing monitoring and analyses of water. Trihalomethanes or THMs can form as a byproduct when chlorine is added to water as part of the disinfection process. Prior to the establishment of Irish Water, Kerry County Council says in such cases it would have sought the advice of the HSE in instances where the level of THMs exceeded the value Stated in the Drinking Water Regulations – currently 100 micrograms per litre (ug/l). The HSE advises that the affected scheme should have adequate filtration to remove the precursors to THMs. Over 40 Water treatment plants have been upgraded in Kerry since 2009, including to the filtration process. Kerry County Council understands that Irish Water will shortly announce details of the upgrade to the Central Regional supply, which supplies over 60,000 customers in the county.