EPA warns of "serious health risk" from private water usage in creches, nursing homes and hotels 7 months ago

EPA warns of "serious health risk" from private water usage in creches, nursing homes and hotels

Do you know where your water is coming from?

On Wednesday morning, Ireland's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that "crèches, nursing homes and hotels using their own wells for drinking water, could pose a serious health risk" to the public at large.

A report on drinking water in Ireland has found that "E. coli was found in 51 small private water supplies serving commercial buildings (hotels, B&Bs, pubs etc.) or public buildings (schools, crèches, campsites etc.)."

Consuming water with E. coli in it generally leads to gastrointestinal illness, but in a small number of cases can result in severe and long-term kidney failure. No E. coli testing was reported for 711 small private supplies. This "unknown" poses a further serious health risk to the public.

Private water supplies are not uncommon in Ireland, with roughly one million people getting their drinking water from a private well. However, many private supplies are not on the local authorities’ register and those that are registered are not monitored sufficiently, to ensure safe drinking water, according to the EPA.

Where monitoring was carried out, it shows that private water supplies - to commercial businesses (hotels, B&Bs, pubs, etc.) or to buildings where the public has access (schools, crèches, campsites, etc.) - are at greater risk of being contaminated than public water supplies. More than 50 of the private wells monitored were found to be contaminated by human or animal waste.

The report can be accessed in full here.