Today, the Commission has decided to refer Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union for failure to comply with the requirements of the Drinking Water Directive (Directive 98/83/EC). The Directive requires Member States to ensure that water intended for human consumption is wholesome and clean. It requires that drinking water is free from micro-organisms and parasites, and from substances which could pose a potential danger to human health.
The European Green Deal sets for the EU a Zero Pollution ambition. Full implementation of the standards enshrined in EU legislation is important to effectively protect human health and safeguard the natural environment.
In Ireland, the level of the chemical substance trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water has long exceeded the parametric value established in the Drinking Water Directive in a number of water supply zones across the whole country. Drinking water provided in 30 water supply zones in Ireland, serving a population of more than 200 000 citizens, continues to exceed the safe levels of THMs. These chemicals are formed in drinking water due to the disinfection process. Exceeding the parametric value of trihalomethanes can entail potential risks to human health.
The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Ireland in 2018, followed by a reasoned opinion in May 2020. The reasoned opinion concerned 44 water supply zones across the whole country. Since the reasoned opinion, 30 water supply zones remain in breach of the THM value.
Whilst the Commission welcomes the fact that Ireland has made progress in addressing elevated levels of THMs in the drinking water, today, more than three years after the opening of the infringement case, a number of water supply zones still do not comply with the requirements of the Drinking Water Directive. The Commission is therefore referring Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union.
For more information