Water Pollution Ireland

Contaminants can enter water bodies in a variety of ways.  These include:

  • Discharges from sewage works and industrial plants at identifiable point sources
  • Intermittent discharges from sources such as storm flows and land run-off
  • Continuous leaching from surrounding ground
  • Deposition from the air e.g. acid rain
  • Accidental or deliberate spillages or dumping
  • Releases from dead or decaying aquatic flora and fauna.

Discharges into our waters lead to deoxygenation. Eutrophication, or over-enrichment of waters by nutrients (mainly nitrate and phosphates) can lead to the stimulation of weed and algal growth which can ultimately cause deoxygenation.

In Ireland around 25% of the water used comes from groundwater.  Groundwater is a valuable resource and once polluted, it tends to remain polluted for a long period of time.  Threats to groundwater arise from:

  • Leachate generated by domestic refuse in dumps or landfills
  • Accidental spillages
  • Leaking sewers and underground storage containers
  • Badly constructed or sited septic tanks