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25 Water Supplies At Risk Of Cryptosporidium Contamination

Treatment is needed for 25 water supplies currently at risk of contamination with Cryptosporidium says Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland (EPA).

The monitoring of all public drinking water in Ireland, grant us the following information:

  • 99.9% of samples comply with microbiological standards.
  • 99.5% of samples comply with chemical standards
  • 41 ‘Boil Water Notices’ were put in place during 2016, affecting more than 84,000 people.

There are 87 water supplies “at risk” on the EPA’s Remedial Action List:

  • 58 of these supplies have elevated levels of Trihalomethanes (THMs). [ THMs are chemicals which can be located in water treated with chlorine. The concentration of THMs in drinking water varies according to the level of organic material in the water, the amount of chlorine required to treat the water, and the temperature of the water that is being treated. Some water supplies have reported levels of THMs which are higher than the recommended levels, and Irish Water is developing a National THM plan, in order to deal with this issue.]
  • 25 of these supplies lack adequate protection to prevent Cryptosporidium from entering the water supply. [Cryptosporidium can cause a respiratory and gastrointestinal illness (cryptosporidiosis) that primarily involves watery diarrhea (intestinal cryptosporidiosis) with or without a persistent cough (respiratory cryptosporidiosis) in both immunocompetent and immunodeficient humans. (immunocompetent – the ability of the body to produce a normal immune response, following exposure to a toxin), (immunodeficient – the immune system’s ability to fight infectious disease and cancer is compromised)]

The EPA Drinking Water Report 2016, released today, shows that the quality of drinking water in public supplies remains high, though further improvements are deemed necessary to improve the security of supplies and avoid water restrictions, including Boil Water Notices. Drinking water testing throughout 2016 confirmed a very high level of compliance with microbiological and chemical standards, indicating that the majority of our water supplies are safe.

Commenting on the report, Mr Gerard O’Leary, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement stated, “While the removal of long-term boil water notices in supplies like the Whitegate Regional Supply in Cork and Loughrea public water supply in Galway in 2016 was welcome, there remains over 3,600 people on a Boil Water Notice today. The EPA has identified supplies serving over 700,000 consumers where improvements to water treatment infrastructure are necessary to meet public health standards.”

Counties Kerry, Cork and Donegal account for almost half of the “at risk” supplies identified by the EPA. The report states that action programme dates set out by Irish Water to improve 24 “at risk” supplies have slipped.

Darragh Page, Senior Drinking Water Inspector, Office of Environmental Enforcement, commenting on threats to drinking water quality such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli and Trihalomethanes (THMs) stated, “While the incidence of E. coli in public water supplies continues to decrease, the current challenge is to reduce the levels of other pollutants in public water supplies across the country, particularly THM, and pesticides. The number of supplies reporting THM failures remains high, and a consistent national approach must be adopted to ensure that pesticides are prevented from entering our drinking water sources. We have also identified 25 supplies that require adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering the water supply.”

The EPA Drinking Water Report 2016 as well as the complete list of public water supplies currently on their Remedial Action List (RAL) are available on the EPA website – including details of proposed remedial measures and associated time frames, with regards to water projects identified in Co. Tipperary.


Thurles Native Caught Up In Hurricane Harvey Devastation

Journalist and Author Tom Ryan Reports:-

An Irish soccer referee in Houston, Texas, yesterday paid tribute to the “caring spirit and generosity” of the people of Houston, in the wake and devastation of Hurricane Harvey, which has caused death and destruction on a huge scale, this week.

Pictured herewith are Pam & Seanie Ryan, attending a ‘Rodeo’ in the populous city of Houston, Texas, in the United States, during happier times.

Thurles native, Mr Seanie Ryan, latter formerly a drummer with various bands in Ireland, including Co. Tipperary’s ‘Tweed’ in the 80’s (later ‘The Paddies’ with top lead vocalist Brendan Ryder, Thurles.) and the ‘Kenny Ryder Superband’, currently resides in ‘Katy’, latter a city in the U.S. state of Texas, within the Houston – Katy -Woodlands – Sugar Land metropolitan area; previously known as “Cane Island”.

As the hurricane hit Katy City and his neighbourhood became flooded, he was directed by a US Coast Guard helicopter to a United States Army Truck, who brought the family to safety to an upland, dry area.

Seanie stated “My wife Pam, and I, carrying our two pups, ‘Rosie’ and ‘Pickles’ in a basket, had to wade through some five feet of water to get to the truck”, adding, “You do it when you mustSubsequently we were offered accommodation in the home of friends who, ironically, were only about two miles away, but actually in a dry area, where we could walk our dogs next day; Crazy.”  Seanie continued.

“One thing I want to get across”, Seanie was anxious to emphasise, “You know people around the world may say different things about the present state of America and our President Donald Trump, but I could not begin to describe the generosity and caring spirit of the wonderful people of Houston, Texas; its Black, white, Asian, Indian, in fact practically the whole of its 2.303 million population, containing all races and creeds. You know it was so wonderful; people, many complete strangers, whom we never met before, were offering us food, accommodation; even an office, if my wife wanted to do her work, indeed any kind of help we wanted was on offer. 

Police helicopters hovered over the neighbourhood all night with floodlights protecting our homes from looters and Coastguard helicopters continued to be involved in rescue operations; rather like the one that came to our assistance.  People just came up to us all the time saying “What can I do for you”.  Now that’s the outstanding spirit of Houston and how it should remain; people were just so outstanding and generous in every way”, said Seanie, a professional Colleges Soccer Referee.

Meanwhile Seanie and wife Pam do not know quite what to expect, when they will eventually be allowed to go back to their home. While thankful to be alive and thoroughly grateful to the great people of Katy city and Houston, they hope they may be lucky in respect of any long term damage caused to their dwelling.

Meanwhile they look forward to November 4th next and the nuptial of their son Kevin, (latter a published writer), and Ms Caroline McKinzie Phillips.

Note: Seanie Ryan, was formerly a native of No.30 Kennedy Park, Thurles, Co. Tipperary, and is brother of Thurles journalist / author Mr Tom Ryan, Rahealty and Mr Pat Ryan, also No.30 Kennedy Park, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.


EPA – Greater Focus Protecting Water Quality Req’d

World Water Week 2017

“A greater focus on protecting our most pristine water environments is needed,” says EPA

Back in late April 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received results of analysis on river sediment, taken from the Drish River and the Rossestown River, (both tributaries of the River Suir here in North Tipperary,) from Anglo American Lisheen Mining Ltd, Killoran, Moyne, just 17 minutes drive (14.1 km / 8.76 mls) via the N75  from Thurles, in Co. Tipperary.

Same analytical results related to the monitoring of metals in river sediment. The results received by the EPA showed unsatisfactorily high levels of metals, including lead and zinc, in river sediment. While the water itself was deemed unpolluted, the EPA notified local farmers in the area that farm animals e.g. cattle and sheep, should not be allowed direct access to the affected stretches of the rivers. Dredging or other river works were forbidden at these locations.

Rural dwellers were informed that Anglo American Lisheen Mining Limited, (EPA Licence Reg. No. 550) were working with the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement in relation to re-mediation, to eliminate any further risks of pollution. Only inquisitive individuals from that dreaded ‘green activist  fringe’  were taking notes, but were threatened that up to 1,000 highly paid jobs would be put at risk, should formal environmental protest be publicly registered.

This year 2017 we have, thanks to “environmental radicals” and others of that same ‘green fringe’, now become more acutely aware of our natural environment, and rightly raise objection; demanding caution, when ‘Big Business’ arrives outside our doors using the popular catch phrase ‘Major Job Creation Opportunities’, e.g. Fracking and proposals to allow Irish Cement to burn tyres and other industrial waste at its Mungret, Co Limerick plant, its dioxins and Carbon monoxide fumes to be blown on Ireland’s prevailing wind, which travels from the south and west, to be rained down on our clean, food producing County of Tipperary.

The EPA has today released its latest national assessment of water quality in Ireland. The release coincides with World Water Week, which links scientific understanding with policy-making and positive action toward water-related challenges.
The EPA assessment covers the six-year period between 2010 and 2015 and is the first full, six-year, assessment of the status of our waters under the Water Framework Directive. The assessment concludes that while there has been little overall change in water quality in the six years up to the end of 2015, there has been:-

  • a failure to meet the planned national target of 13 per cent improvement in water status for the six-year period;
  • a failure to prevent deterioration of water status at hundreds of water bodies around the country, which cancels out the improvements in water status at a similar number of water bodies in other parts of the country;
  • welcome progress relating to a continued reduction in the level of seriously polluted waters – only 6 river water bodies were categorised as “Bad” in 2010–2015 compared to 19 in 2007–2009; and
  • a continued and unwelcome decline in the number of our pristine rivers – only 21 sites achieved the highest quality rating from 2013-2015 compared to over 500 sites in the late 1980s.

Overall, 91 per cent of groundwater bodies, 57 per cent of rivers, 46 per cent of lakes, 31 per cent of estuaries and 79 per cent of coastal waters were found to be of good quality under the Water Framework Directive. The Water Framework Directive, other than in exceptional circumstances, requires good water status for all water bodies.

The assessment is available on the EPA website and the accompanying data used in the water quality assessments are available on www.catchments.ie.

More recent localised information on water quality is available on-line through https://www.epa.ie.


Crayfish Plague Spreads To Tipperary’s Lorrha River

Earlier this year (May 2017 last), a large numbers of freshwater crayfish were reported as dead, on a stretch of the River Suir, downstream from Clonmel, in South Co. Tipperary.

Analysis, then carried out confirmed that the cause of this crayfish mortality was a water multicellular fungus or mold known as ‘Crayfish Plague’.  The disease, which arrived possibly through imported crayfish from North America, or in ships ballast water, has left all agencies including the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS); Inland Fisheries Ireland; and Tipperary County Council, working to contain the outbreak.

Alas, yet another outbreak has been now been confirmed, this time on the Lorrha River, in North Tipperary. Dead freshwater crayfish have been located and DNA analysis confirm that the cause of death is again Crayfish Plague, according to the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The disease was first discovered here in Ireland in 1987, for the first time; however, based on known current information and research, some 100% mortality of this crayfish population is expected.  This situation in turn will create major consequences for the future ecology of this stretch of the Lorrha River, since no resistance to this disease, as yet to date, has been discovered in relation to the native European crayfish population.

All person entering Irish rivers, for any reason, are now once again being urged to observe the practice of ‘Check, Clean and Dry’, when leaving or entering fresh water areas.  Wet gear, including boats, waterproof clothing and other associated equipment used, should be checked for mud, silt and plant material, before disinfecting or washing; using boiling water, and before allowing a drying period of at least 24 hours. Like ballast water, ensure also that water introduced internally in boats and other water craft, are also treated. This procedure is essential in the prevention of the spread of Crayfish Plague to other, as yet, unaffected fresh water areas.


A Gardeners Friend – The Great Tit

Often misidentified as a Blue Tit or Coal Tit; one resident bird species, always welcome in our gardens here in Ireland, is the Great Tit, latter one of our top-20 most widespread of garden birds.

This shy, often non easily trusting little residents, is welcomed by gardeners since it lives on a diet of mainly insects, seeds and nuts. By using a peanut feeders during the winter months and food scraps on a bird table, this black-headed and largest of the tit family, will remain a constant visitor.

Word of warning, especially regarding the use of peanuts, fat and bread at nesting time, since these foods can be harmful when adult birds are feed their young. If you must put out peanuts in Spring and Summer, only do so in tight mesh feeders that will not allow sizeable pieces of peanuts to be removed, thus avoiding the risk of baby chicks choking.

The Great Tit is easily identified with its striking black head and large white cheek patches. Also a distinct black band can be easily spotted runs down the centre of its bright yellow breast. When perched viewers can observe a distinct white bar on both wings. Its bill is pointed but nevertheless stout for its size, while it stands on legs which appear bluish-grey in colour.

Its typical chirp, sounds like “teacher, teacher” and or ” tew, tew tew” with often repetitive variations.

The Great Tit breeds throughout Eire and will nest in cavities in trees or stone walls and are known to choose unusual nesting sites such as pipes or even letterboxes. Where silence prevails, it will readily use man manufactured nest-boxes.