A new approach is being taken to managing and protecting our waters (all our inland and coastal waters). New Legislation now requires that the local authorities in the Shannon IRBD (International River Basin District) have a management plan in place for the whole of the Shannon river basin by 2009. A new booklet called Water Matters sets out the issues in a very easy -to - read manner and explains how they affect water quality, what controls are in place to deal with these issues and if they are adequate to meet the required standards.
Download the Water Matters booklet now for further information.
The Environment Section are required to investigate any reports or complaints of water pollution from the public. Environment staff will carry out a site investigation to identify the nature and source of the pollution. The person responsible will then be required to stop the pollution and may be liable for the cost of clean up and may be prosecuted under the Water Pollution Act 1977 and 1990.
Monitoring of surface waters (rivers and lakes) is carried out by the EPA Laboratory. The EPA reports its results in an annual report. They reported last year on the results for 2005:
"Seriously polluted waters in the county have continued to decrease with the historic trend to 8.1% in 2002 from 12.1% in 1980 however the number of monitoring stations where slight/moderate pollution has been detected has increased to 24.4% from 13.1% over the same period. Unpolluted stations have decreased from 74.8% to 67.7%. The increase in moderately polluted waters is attributable to eutrophication resulting from excess phosphorus. The report identifies that the overall conditions in Lough Derg are reasonably satisfactory".
The source of this excess Phosphorus is mainly from sewage Discharges and agricultural runoff. The Environment Section is actively involved in carrying out farm surveys in order to improve farm waste management. Survey work has been ongoing since the introduction of the Agricultural Bye-Laws in 2000. Over 900 farms were inspected in the Bye-Law area and survey work has now been initiated within several other river sub-catchments.