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tap water in ireland and best water filter for ireland

Can I drink the tap water in Ireland?

Can you drink the tap water in Ireland? Where does the water come from? How is the water treated? Is it safe to drink the tap water? What are the most common issues with tap water? What is the best water filter for Ireland?

In this article we will answer all of these questions and more. If you just want the quick answer then jump to the conclusion at the end.

Where does the tap water in Ireland come from?

The tap water in Ireland comes from a variety of sources, including rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers. In some areas, the water is treated at local water treatment plants before being distributed to homes and businesses. In other areas, the water is piped in from larger treatment plants located elsewhere in the country.w

Where does the tap water in Dublin come from?

The tap water in Dublin comes from the River Liffey, which is a river that flows through the city. The water is treated at various water treatment plants before being distributed to homes and businesses throughout Dublin.

How is the tap water treated in Ireland?

There are approximately 1,300 water treatment plants in Ireland, which are operated by a number of different entities, including local authorities, private companies, and government agencies. The ownership of these plants varies depending on the location and the size of the facility.

Ireland’s tap water is treated at various water treatment plants located throughout the country. These plants use a wide range of methods to remove contaminants and ensure the safety of the water, including filtration, disinfection, and chemical treatment. This process of filtration involves passing the water through a series of filters, which remove particles and impurities from the water. The filters used in water treatment plants can be made of a variety of materials, including sand, gravel, and activated carbon.

After filtration, the water is disinfected to kill any bacteria or viruses that may be present. This is typically done using chemicals, such as chlorine or chloramine, which are added to the water in controlled amounts. The water is then tested to ensure that it meets safety standards and is free of contaminants.

In addition to filtration and disinfection, some water treatment plants in Ireland may also use other methods to treat the water, such as adding chemicals to remove heavy metals or adjusting the pH of the water to make it more alkaline or acidic.

Once the water has been treated, it is distributed to homes and businesses through a network of pipes. These pipes are typically made of materials such as iron, copper, or PVC, and are designed to be strong and durable. However, over time, the pipes can become corroded or damaged, which can lead to leaks or breaks. When this happens, the water can become contaminated and unsafe to drink.

Can I drink the tap water in Ireland?

In general, it is safe to drink the tap water in Ireland. According to official stats by Irish Water 99.6% of households currently receive a water supply that is safe to drink.

However, as with any public water supply, there is always a small risk of contamination, so it is always best to check with local authorities to confirm that the tap water in a specific area is safe to drink. Additionally, if the water has a strange taste or odor, it may be best to avoid drinking it until the issue is resolved. It is also important to remember to boil water for at least one minute before drinking it, particularly if you are traveling in rural areas or in areas where the water quality may be questionable.

Common tap water contaminants in Ireland

The main concerns with tap water in Ireland are chlorine by-products, bacteria, nitrates, pesticides and microplastics. Contaminants can enter the water supply through a variety of sources, such as agricultural runoff, industrial discharges, and sewage spills. Contaminants that can be found in untreated water include chemicals, and heavy metals.

To help prevent contamination and ensure the safety of the water supply, Ireland has strict regulations in place for the treatment and distribution of tap water. The water is regularly tested to ensure that it meets safety standards. Ireland has been issued several warnings about tap water issues in the last couple of years by the European Union.

Disinfection, E.coli bacteria and microplastics are three of the issues:

1. Chlorine by-products (THMs)

Ireland is not meeting safe drinking water standards for “possibly carcinogenic” Trihalomethanes, despite being in trouble with the European Commission for non-compliance. Recent tests found 21 private group schemes (7%) serving around 26,000 people failed to meet the standard for Trihalomethane (THMs), which are chemicals that can be found in water treated by chlorine.

THMs in tap water in Ireland
Areas where THMs above regulated levels have been found in the tap water in Ireland

THMs have been linked to a variety of health problems, including increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and reproductive problems. In addition, THMs can also have an unpleasant taste and odor, which can make the water unappealing to drink.

To address the issue of THMs in drinking water, the European Union has put in place a number of regulations and standards to limit the levels of THMs in tap water. These regulations require water treatment plants to monitor and control the levels of THMs in the water, and to take steps to reduce the levels of THMs if they exceed certain limits.

In addition, the European Union has also implemented a number of other measures to improve the quality of tap water, including promoting the use of alternative disinfection methods, such as ozone or ultraviolet light, that do not produce THMs. 

2. eColi bacteria

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found one in 20 private water supplies in Ireland contained E.coli last year. 

Bacteria including E.coli in tap water in Ireland

E. coli in drinking water can also pose a health risk to people who consume it. Symptoms of E. coli infection can include stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever. In severe cases, E. coli infection can lead to kidney failure or even death.

To help prevent E. coli contamination and protect the safety of the water supply, it is important to use effective water treatment methods. Water treatment plants use a variety of methods to remove bacteria and other contaminants from the water, including filtration, disinfection, and chemical treatment. In addition, the water is regularly tested to ensure that it meets safety standards.

If you are concerned about the presence of E. coli in your tap water, you can also take steps to protect yourself and your family. This can include filtration including ultrafiltration (such as Ultra by TAPP Water), UV filters and Reverse Osmosis filters. A temporary measure can also be boiling the water before drinking it or purchasing bottled water. It is important to report any issues or concerns about the safety of your tap water to the appropriate authorities.

3. Microplastics

Several studies including the one by Orb Media have found microplastics in both bottled water and tap water.

Microplastics in the tap water in Ireland according to Orb Media 2019 study

Best water filter for Ireland

If you don’t like the taste or worry about contaminants in the Irish tap water then a water filter can be an affordable and sustainable solution. There are a wide variety of options including jugs, tap/faucet filters, gravity filters and reverse osmosis.

Generally the simplest and most affordable alternatives including

  1. Water Filter Jugs such as PitcherPro by TAPP Water, Brita and BWT
pitcherpro water filter jug for Ireland

The PitcherPro glass water pitcher recently was selected best in test for taste and design by the Telegraph.

2. Tap/Faucet Water Filters such as EcoPro and EcoPro Compact by TAPP Water, PUR and Culligan

EcoPro Chrome tap water filter for Ireland

Bottled Water in Ireland

Bottled water consumption has grown rapidly over the past 30 years. The average household now spends over €250 per year with many households as much as €1000. However, there is no evidence that bottled water is safer than tap water.

Conclusion about tap water in Ireland

  • Generally the tap water is safe to drink but often tastes bad from chlorine
  • The most common issues with tap water in Ireland are chlorine by-products, microplastics and E.coli bacteria
  • If you don’t like the taste of the tap water or worry about contaminants then a water filter for Ireland will give you clean tasty tap water at a low cost
  • EcoPro, EcoPro Compact, PitcherPro and BottlePro are great alternatives if you are looking for a water filter for Ireland
  • Avoid bottled water if you can as it’s expensive, not healthier than tap water and bad for the planet

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