Pesticide runoff still a problem in Wexford, says EPA

By David tucker

SIX of Ireland's rivers are badly polluted, one of them in County Wexford, the country's environmental watchdog has revealed.

It also says that the number of pristine waterways in the country fell to 21 in 2015 - down from 38 in 2009 and 500 in the late 1980s. One of the main problems is pesticide runoff.

In its first six-year review of water quality under new European rules, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that Ireland has failed to meet its clean-up targets.

Six rivers were said to be badly polluted. They were the Tolka between Clonee and Clonsilla in Dublin; the Avoca, in Wicklow; the Aughboy, in Courtown; the Bredagh near Moville in Co Donegal; the Laurencetown stream in Co Galway; and the Srah river which runs into Lough Mask in County Mayo.

The review showed some improvements in water quality as 19 rivers were classed as badly polluted in the 2007-2009 period.

The Blackwater-Munster and Slaney and Wexford harbour catchments had the highest number of declines in ecological status across the catchments between 2007 and 2009 and 2010 and 2015 and the Nore was among rivers which also had significant declines. Ballyteigue-Bannow was also poor with moderate to bad status. Overall there were 395 samples with pesticide detections affecting 72 of the 85 rivers assessed. The powerful herbicide, MCPA was the most widely observed substance detected. The highest value was in the Banoge River in north County Wexford in 2013. Three coastal water bodies were at moderate status for the benthic invertebrate BQE, the mouth of the Shannon and Mulroy Bay and Wexford Harbour, the latter two of which have been similar since 2007.

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