Protection of Small Private Supplies in Ireland. Key contaminants of concern, how they can be prevented/managed, and how to successfully communicate with and support supply owners

Recent reports by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate the deterioration of surface and groundwater quality in Ireland from 2013 to 2019 (EPA, 2020a). In that context, supporting small- scale water supply owners is crucial to safeguarding public health, particularly as several contaminants are associated with potentially severe health issues. In Ireland, Small Private Supplies (SPSs) are those which produce a volume of water greater than 10 m3/day or serve 50 or more people in commercial or public activities (e.g. hotels, B&Bs, pubs, creches, schools, campsites, etc.). Despite being under the supervision of corresponding Local Authorities (LAs), these mostly groundwater-derived supplies consistently display the poorest water quality of all regulated supply types (EPA, 2020b, EPA, 2021). This may be attributable to insufficient engagement with appropriate source protection and maintenance practices (including treatment, where required). Accordingly, the current report aims to (i) identify recurring and persistent (key) contaminants within Irish groundwaters and SPSs using EPA and LAs’ monitoring data, (ii) review the scientific literature and current policy to determine the main evidence-based well stewardship practices available for prevention (and/or management) of key contaminants, and (iii) propose communication strategies which may be used to motivate and promote desirable well stewardship practices based on a thorough review of relevant literature and expert opinion.

Click to access Andrade-et-al._Report-Water-Quality-of-Small-Private-Supplies.pdf

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