Category: Real Ireland Tour
4 . SAFETY OF DRINKING WATER
Contaminated Drinking Water In Ireland
A large number of State-run and private drinking water supplies throughout
Ireland have become contaminated by E. Coli, Clostridia, Fecal Stretococci
and other bacteria and parasites in the last 5 years. It is unsave to
drink this water or use it for personal hygiene. The risks of infection are
Thre are some 749 contaiminated water supplies variously affected at
present, both inrural and urban areas, including parts of Dublin. 49% of
all national drinking water supplies are not bacteriologically
contaminated. These contaminated water supplies are to be found in every
county in Ireland
4.3 The Risks
Some of the potential bacterial contaminants like E Coli 0157 and
Cryptosporidium, have a low infective doe (less than 10 organisms compared
with 50,000 organisms for Salmonella) so only a small amount of the
affected water is requred to cause infection.
E. Coli and Cryptosporidium produce extremely virulent toxins, which can be
Be particularly vigilant with small children, the elderly or anyone with a
compromised immune system.
Cryptosporidium is not destroyed by disinfection or chlorination and
potentially survive on plates and cutlery for long periods after washing in
4.4 Checking the Drinking Water in Your Area
Check the drinking water quality in the area you are staying by calling at
the offices of the local Council Sanitary Services. ASk for hte
bacteriological drinking water quality results for the area. If any of the
rsults show any coliform or faecal coliform results, you should assume that
the water in the area is unfirt for human consumption.
The EU and the World Helath orangisation maximum acceptable level for both
Coliforms and E. Coli is zero. unfortunately the Irish Governmane is
currently ignoring these standards in practice.
National Results for all parts of the country can be obtained from the
Environmental Protection Agency's publication "The Quality of Drinking
Water in Ireland"
Call EPA on 01-6674474
4.5 PRECAUTIONS YOU CAN TAKE
Whilst travelling in affected areas:
* Drink only reliable bottled water;.
* Do not use ice.
* Sterilise/wash bayb bottles etc. with sterile water. DO NOt use
* Do not use affecte waster to wash yourself, you food or your
kitchen equipment unless the water has been kept at boiling point for at
least 10 minutes. Note: Boiling affected water does not destroy
* Do not use affected water for brushing teeth. Use carefully around
eyes and mouth when washing, if it must be used.
* Particular care should be taken when taking casual breaksin your
journey. Many areas are not yet aware of the contamination risks.
* Be particularly careful with young children, the elderly and the
sick. Infection can be fatal.
* If in doubt, use bottled water.
Report any abdominal pains, sickness or diarrhoea to a medical practitioner
Affected area are listed on the Web.
IRISH FIGURES ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL WATCH IRELAND SITE.