Questions remain over health impact of decommissioned water supply – McGuinness

Gaeltacht_na_nDéise_viewSinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said that serious questions remain over the health impacts of the decomissioned public water supply serving An Rinn, which was finally replaced last year. He raised concerns following a stark warning from the European Commission to the Irish Government over unsafe levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) in public water supplies.

McGuinness said:

“The public water supply that served An Rinn until late last year contained elevated levels of Trihalomethanes. THMs are classified as ‘potentially carcinogenic’ by public health authorities and the HSE identifies a potential link between long term exposure to THMs and cancer and reproductive issues.

“The original complaint made to the European Commission listed 97 public water supplies, and identified the An Rinn supply as having over 9 times more THMs than recommended by both the WHO and the European Union in 2011. The last water quality audit carried out on the supply, at the end of 2018, also showed excessive levels of THMs.

“My predecessor Brendan Mansfield first raised the issue of the water supply in An Rinn back in 2004 when he was a member of Waterford County Council. It took successive Governments 15 years to deliver a solution.

“I have written to Irish Water, the EPA and the HSE to seek information regard to THM levels in this water supply from 2004 – 2019. The people who used this water supply for many decades deserve to have the full facts about the water they drank and any potential health impacts.

“There is no suggestion that the current water supply contains THMs, however I have asked Irish Water to publish data and issue a statement to confirm this and to reassure the public.”

The European Commission has given the Irish Government four months to resolve outstanding issues with excessive THM levels in public water supplies or else it may be brought before the EU Court of Justice.

McGuinness is a member of the European Committee of the Regions and the HSE Regional Forum.

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