Conor D. McGuinness has obtained information from the Environmental Protection Agency in recent days that paints a stark picture of unsafe levels of Trihalomethanes in the An Rinn/Heilbhic water supply between the years 2008 and 2018. The water supply was only decommissioned in September 2019.
The An Rinn-based Sinn Féin Councillor said:
“Annual water quality reports to the EPA show that levels of THMs in the An Rinn / Heilbhic water supply exceeded the safe limits for 9 years in the period 2008 – 2018. In 2009 the annual report shows an average exceedance 9 times the safe limit for this chemical.”
“Given the danger posed by excessive levels of THMs in the An Rinn / Heilbhic supply, regular reporting was sought by the EPA. A total of 64 water quality reports showed levels of THMs in the water in excess of the safe limit during the period 2008 – 2018.
“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.
“A number of local politicians have been trying to downplay the seriousness of this issue, and parroting the official line from Irish Water. I’m disappointed, but not surprised, by their ‘move-along-nothing-to-see-here’ attitude. Some of these representatives sat on their hands for years while the water supply breached WHO, EU and Irish safety levels.
“The new water connection, which became operational in september 2019, means that that the public water supply in An Rinn is finally safe, but this does not discount the fact that for well over a decade the people of An Rinn were subject to unsafe and potentially dangerous drinking water.
“As a member of the HSE Regional Forum I have asked for a detailed response from health officials on the effects of long-term exposure to excessive levels of THMs on localises populations, and what protocols, if any, the HSE will put in place to monitor, advise and reassure people affected.
“It is unacceptable that any community would be subjected to long-term exposure to dangerous chemicals in the public water supply. I am glad that its no longer happening, but there are still very serious concerns that have be be addressed.
“I am very concerned about the lack of information, and about the lack of engagement with people affected. I am following this up with both the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and with the Department of Health.”
McGuinness has published the data received from the EPA in the public interest.
Click below to access the documents.