AIE Request: Records from meetings of the National Pesticide and Drinking Water Action Group Working Group (NPDWAG)

National Pesticide and Drinking Water Action Group Working Group (NPDWAG) in 2021 & 2022:

  1. Records provided to NPDWAG by the EPA.
  2. Records provided to NPDWAG by Irish Water.
  3. Records provided to NPDWAG by APHA.

National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group Membership, Agendas and Minutes

AIE Request


To support the achievement of compliance with the Drinking Water Directive pesticide parametric limit at the point of abstraction and in treated water.


1. Enhanced Collaboration: including linkages with other national groups.
2. Awareness Raising.
3. Track Progress and Activities by relevant stakeholders.
4. Consistency, standardisation of approach.
5. Serve as a Forum for escalating particular problems/constraints.
6. Clarify Roles and Responsibilities.
7. Identify Policy Gaps/Implementation.
8. Data sharing / Initiative Sharing / Knowledge Sharing.
9. Ensure appropriate measures in RBMP.
10. Identify gaps in research.
11. Identifying incentives e.g. grant schemes.
12. Standardisation of health advice.


DAFM – Aidan Moody, David McGilloway, Claire Fitzsimons
Agricultural Consultants Association (ACA) – Michael J Ryan
Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme (ASSAP) – Kieran Kenny
Animal and Plant Health Association (APHA) – John Keogh
Department of Housing Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) – Colin Byrne
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Darragh Cunningham, Anthony Mannix, Michelle Minihan
Federation of Agrochemical Retail Merchants (FARM) – Fintan Conway
Golf Course Superintendents Association of Ireland (GCSAI) – Damian McLaverty
Golf Ireland (GI) – Pat Suttle
Health Service Executive (HSE) – Paul McGuinness
Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) – Denis Drennan
Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) – Paul O’Brien

Irish Water – Emer Colwell, Lorraine Gaston, John Leamy
Local Authorities – Tom Griffin (Wicklow), Aidan Leonard (Limerick), Frank O’Flynn (Cork)
Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) – Kate Tynan
National Federation of Group Water Schemes (NFGWS) – Joe Gallagher
Teagasc – Michael Hennessy

Working Group Co-ordinator: Aidan Moody (DAFM)


There were no reports commissioned by or presented to the National Pesticide and Drinking Water Action Group in 2020-22

Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the sustainable use of plant protection products and amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115

The following main policy options were assessed against a likely baseline scenario where the SUD remains unchanged.

Option 1: The EU targets to reduce pesticide use by 50% and reduce pesticide risks by 50% to be achieved by 2030 remain non-legally binding. Advisory systems and guidance for pesticide users would be improved. Precision-farming techniques would be promoted to cut the use of – and risk from – chemical pesticides.

Option 2: The 50% reduction targets would become legally binding at EU level. Member States would set their own national reduction targets using established criteria. These national targets would then be legally binding (under national law) and subject to governance mechanisms linked to regular annual reporting by Member States. The use of more hazardous pesticides would be prohibited in sensitive areas such as urban green areas. Professional pesticide users would need to keep electronic records on pesticide use and on IPM to help reduce pesticide use. National authorities would collect and analyse those records to monitor progress and devise corrective measures at national level if necessary. Independent advisory services would advise pesticide users on alternative techniques and IPM.

Option 3 would be similar to option 2. However, under option 3, the 50% reduction targets would become legally binding at both EU and national level. The use of all chemical pesticides would be prohibited in sensitive areas such as urban areas and protected areas in accordance with Directive 2000/60/EC, Natura 2000 areas etc.

The preferred option is option 3, except for the targets, where option 2 is preferred. In this case, the targets to reduce both pesticide use and pesticide risk by 50% would become legally binding at EU level, with Member States setting their own national reduction targets under national law. The options have been assessed against a likely baseline scenario where the SUD remains unchanged. Prohibiting the use of all plant protection products in sensitive areas will maximise associated health and environmental benefits.

Regulatory fitness and simplification

In line with the Commission commitment to better regulation, the proposal has been prepared inclusively, based on transparency and continuous engagement with stakeholders. The evaluation did not identify possible legislative simplifications or reductions of regulatory burden that would make it easier to achieve the objectives of sustainable pesticide use. Micro-enterprises are not exempted from this proposal given the importance of uniform implementation of measures to reduce both the use of pesticides and the risk they pose to human health and the environment.

This proposal is in line with a digital-ready policy by promoting electronic record-keeping and online publication of trends in progress towards meeting:
(i) pesticide-reduction targets;
(ii) implementation of NAPs;
(iii) annual progress and implementation reports;
(iv) Commission recommendations; and
(v) Member State responses.

Relevant provisions for cost-efficient, user-centric and interoperable digital services will be considered in implementing rules for the electronic registers that will be created as a result of the proposal.

Pesticides Regulation in Ireland: where to find the information

You can find information on current regulations on the use of Plant Protection Products in Ireland is available on our website through this link:

The Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD) establishes a framework for European Community action to achieve the sustainable use of pesticides by setting minimum rules to reduce the risks to human health and the environment that are associated with pesticide use. It also promotes the use of integrated pest management.

Record keeping, purchase, disposal and use records must be maintained when plant protection products authorised for professional use are purchased and applied.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) records to demonstrate the application of the general IPM principles must also be maintained. Further information is available on DAFM website here.

Finally, information on professional users and sprayer operators is available here.


Lough Rinn Forbes Priority Area for Action Desktop Report

Nov 2019



Large portion of peatland has been reclaimed and is now used for agriculture.

Pollutants have the potential to enter the waterbody (phosphorus, sediment and pesticides) as their main pathways are overland flow and along drains and ditches, in poorly draining soils.

The significant pressure identified is agriculture.

Point source nutrient issues need to be addressed at farmyard level


Mohill Urban Wastewater Treatment Plant discharges into Rinn_010

The plant was taking in landfill leachate, which it did not have the additional capacity to handle

Latest EPA data on Mohill:


The PAA feeds into the Longford Central drinking water supply, abstracted from Lough Forbes, this supply has been on the EPA remedial action list since 2017 for persistent pesticide exceedances.

Detection of MCPA above the drinking water limit

Section 4s

Section 4 Trade Effluent Discharge Licence at Lough Rynn Castle and Holiday Homes

Hydromorphology was selected as a significant pressure within Lough Rinn. The issues included the
presence of locks, weirs, dams, and barriers.

Invasive species have been identified as significant issues within Lough Rinn & Lough Forbes. Zebra mussels are present in both lakes.

Abstractions were identified as issue within Lough Forbes, however it was not deemed significant. This is the drinking water abstraction plant for the Longford Central supply. This scheme serves Longford town and surrounding areas such as Clondara, Ballinalee, Drumlish, Edgeworthstown and Newtownforbes. The water is supplied from the Lough Forbes treatment plant. It is operated by Irish Water and abstracts 6970 m3/day. This supply is currently on the EPA remedial action list due to persistent detections of pesticides.

Peat extraction has been identified as a significant issue in Lough Forbes.

Gageborough Priority Area for Action Desktop Report

Nov 2019


All three waterbodies are at Moderate Ecological Status (2010-2015) and are categorised as At Risk

There is no chemistry data available for any of the waterbodies

The significant pressures are identified as agriculture and hydromorphology

Pesticide Investigation

There is a surface water drinking abstraction point at Ballyboughlin bridge which is North of Clara, Co. Offaly. Pesticides have been detected within this supply above the drinking water limit over the last number of years, subsequently the supply was added to the EPA pesticide watch list in 2017. Due to the number of exceedances, in 2018 OCC generated a pesticide exceedance response plan to assist in identification of the source of pesticides within the drinking water catchment area.

There was just one sampling location in which a pesticide was detected above the drinking water limit (0.1μg/l), sampling location 13 detected Diflufenican-Triaz-LC- at 0.273μg/l. This sample was taken directly downstream of a horticultural nursery, whilst sampling location 14 (containing no pesticides) was taken directly upstream of the nursery. The most commonly detected pesticides within this sampling event included MCPA, Trichlopyr and Fluroxpyr.

Drinking Water Quality in Public Supplies 2020

This report is an overview of the quality of drinking water in public water supplies and public group schemes during 2020.

It is based on the assessment of monitoring results reported to the EPA by Irish Water and local authorities, and on the EPA’s enforcement activities

Summary of key actions recommended for Irish Water

• Complete upgrades to resolve issues with the drinking water supplies on the RAL, without further delays, to ensure risks to drinking water quality are addressed.
• Progress the assessments of disinfection systems, including rechecking of the chlorine contact times, to ensure drinking water is adequately disinfected and free from bacteria. Critical alarms and monitors must be functioning at all times.
• Substantially progress drinking water safety plan assessments to identify risks at drinking water supplies to safeguard the long-term security of water supplies and mitigate the risk.
• Expedite lead connection replacements. The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government needs to publish the progress report on the national lead strategy.

At the end of 2020, 46 supplies were on the RAL.

Supplies on RAL for inadequate treatment for protozoa or with protozoa failures

Supplies on RAL for THM or with THM failures

Supplies on RAL for pesticides or with pesticides failures

Supplies with notices in place in 2020 and their duration

Mecoprop in Drinking Water

Mecoprop is a common general use herbicide found in many household weed killers and “weed-and-feed” type lawn fertilizers. It is primarily used to control broadleaf weeds. It is often used in combination with other chemically related herbicides such as 2,4-D, dicamba, and MCPA

It is one of the four most common agri chemicals found in Irish drinking water

2,4-D in Drinking Water

2,4D is primarily used as a selective herbicide which kills many terrestrial and aquatic broadleaf weeds, but not grasses

2,4-D is one of the oldest pesticides that’s still legally on the market today. It was one of the two active ingredients in Agent Orange (Vietnam War defoliant).

An exceedance for the pesticide 2,4-D was detected in Dublin city’s public drinking water supply in August 2020. Dublin water supply relies on raw water from the River Liffey, which is vulnerable to pesticide runoff from land.

Irish Water has asked users of any herbicide or pesticide products in the Liffey catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to contamination and the importance of this supply to the local homes and businesses in the community.