Pesticides detected in Louisburgh drinking water supply

Users urged to be responsible when spraying pesticides and to consider alternatives

An exceedance for the pesticide, MCPA, has been detected in the public drinking water supply in Louisburgh.

MCPA is a commonly used herbicide that is present in many products used to control thistles, docks and rushes. The exceedance was noted following routine sampling of drinking water supplies.

The Louisburgh water supply comes from the Bunnahowan River, which is vulnerable to contamination from land and animal run-off.

Irish Water is asking users of pesticide products in the Bunnahowan River catchment to consider the vulnerability of the water supplies to pesticide contamination and the importance of this supply to the local community.

Irish Water, working in partnership with a range of organisations involved in the National Pesticides and Drinking Water Action Group (NPDWAG ), is providing advice and guidance to all users of pesticides, including the farming community, greens keepers and grounds keepers and domestic users, to ensure that best practice measures to protect drinking waters are always followed.

Farmers and other landholders dealing with the challenge of tackling rushes should note that the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM ), has developed new guidance on the sustainable management of rushes. The new approach is based on the concepts of containment or suppression, and aims to minimise the use of pesticides. More information on this can be obtained from your local farm advisor or on The efforts to reduce the incidence of these detections are being coordinated by the NPDWAG. This group is chaired by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM ). All of the key stakeholders are represented in this group and include other Government departments and agencies; local authorities; industry representative bodies; farming organisations; water sector organisations; and amenity sector organisations.

Dr Pat O’Sullivan, Irish Water’s Regional Drinking Water Compliance Specialist, said: "In Mayo, the exceedance of the drinking water regulations for MCPA was noted in the Louisburgh public water supply following routine sampling this month.

"While the HSE has advised that the levels seen do not represent a threat to public health, it is however undesirable and it is therefore imperative that users of pesticides are mindful of best practice when spraying their lands."


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