New regulations have been signed by the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, to improve the standards of Irish drinking water. Minimum hygiene requirements will be introduced for materials that come into contact with water and there will be increased water access for vulnerable and marginalised groups of people.
The regulations ensure the State is meeting its EU obligations for the management of drinking water.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ireland’s drinking water quality regulator, and the Commission for the Regulation of Utilities will oversee water suppliers affected by the regulations, including Uisce Éireann and group water schemes.
“These new regulations will add additional quality measures to continue to ensure that our drinking water remains wholesome and clean,” said Mr O’Brien. “Guided by an expert working group of all relevant stakeholders providing professional advice, we have developed – and will now implement – regulations which will ensure we comply with EU standards and, crucially, provide high quality water supplies to the people of Ireland.”
Included in the regulations is a commitment to supply information to the public on water quality. Minimum requirements for treatment chemicals and filter media that come into contact with water are also included, as is an updated list of parameters monitored in drinking water. The regulations concerning penalties for those who pollute or contaminate water intended for human consumption have also been broadened.
All of the standards, which come into effect through the transposition of an EU directive into Irish legislation, will be enforced this month.