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City defends water testing

Thursday, 18th May, 2017 1:01am

Have you ever wondered why someone’s water tastes different to yours?Cork City Council was recently asked to relay fears about the quality of its drinking water.

This included the amount of fluoride, its taste and if it had an odour.

Fianna Fáil Cllr Tim Brosnan asked senior officials of Cork City Council if the water was tested for fluoride as he claimed that the “fluoride compound added to fluoride the public water supply is itself a deadly poison and will damage human health”.

He also asked if the utility responsible for water, Irish Water, excluded taste and odour from its testing.

The council relayed fears and told Cllr Brosnan that Irish Water is required to test for fluoride as it is one the chemical parameters required to be sampled under drinking water regulations and confirmed that it is included in Irish Water’s Drinking Sampling Plan.

David Joyce, Director of Services, Environment and Recreation informed Cllr Brosnan the requirements for fluoridating public water supplies are set out in the Health Act 1960 and the Fluoridation of Water Supplies Regulations 2007.

The council was also informed that each drinking water sample is checked for taste and odour. This is because they are listed under the indicator parameter listing.

As the name suggests, they give an indication that there may be an issue to be investigated and not necessarily mean there is risk to human health.

Mr Joyce said: “Both taste and odour are subjective tests and are not measured in units but as to whether or not there is an abnormal change in the water sampled.”

Mr Joyce also said that regular testing and monitoring of all public water supplies in Ireland is in accordance with legislation which sets out the drinking water parameters that are to be tested, how often they are to be tested and the acceptable limits for each parameter.

 

THREE CATEGORIES

Drinking water parameters are grouped into three categories.

These are indication, chemical and microbiological.

Indicator parameters are usually tested, along with chemical and microbiological, in a water sample.

Mr Joyce said that these parameters may not necessarily pose a risk on their own, but they can indicate the presence of other, potentially more harmful, substances in a water sample.

Chemical parameters are tested to make sure that they are within limits. These can be caused by chemicals dissolving into water from pipes, chemicals carrying over from water treatment processes, chemical reactions that can occur between different materials in the water and Mr Joyce added “even runoff from farms”.

Microbiological tests for bacteria and Mr Joyce concluded that the presence of this may have occurred either at a water source or within the water distribution network.

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