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