On May 13th 2019, Irish Water issued a press release regarding the exceedances of pesticides. Pesticides have been found to be present in numerous sources of drinking water throughout Ireland over the past year. The commonly used pesticides in Ireland according to the HSE are MCPA, 2,4-D, Mecoprop, and Clopyralid, with MCPA being the most frequently detected one as this is used to kill the likes of poisonous plants such as Ragwort.
This is very worrying news for everyone who drinks tap water however the exceedances of pesticides, while increasing, are not yet a threat to public health according to Irish Water. Farmers and other users of pesticides are being urged to use best practice when using them. Andy Boylan, Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist explains why. “In Ireland, the majority of drinking water supplies come from surface water sources. Such supplies are vulnerable to contamination from land and animal run-off.” In other words, the water used in irrigation of the crops wash the pesticides used into local rivers and streams where it contaminates the water for drinking and other such use like washing and cooking.