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Introduction

Accoding to Dr Una Fallon, Public Health Specialist in the HSE and Chair of the HSE National Drinking Water Group said, "There has been a dramatic increase in the number of cases of VTEC (Verotoxigenic E. coli) in recent years. VTEC is a nasty water borne illness and cases have been linked to contaminated wells. VTEC infection is most common in children and in up to 8 per cent of cases patients go on to develop serious kidney complications. These can, on rare occasions, proves fatal. This is all preventable."

 

VTEC are a particular group of the bacterium E. coli. VTEC infection often causes severe bloody diarrhoea and abdominal cramps although. In some persons, particularly children under 5 years of age and the elderly, the infection can also cause a complication called haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS), in which the red blood cells are destroyed and the kidneys fail.

 

More details can be found on our Cryptosporidium Sampling Rig page >

 

Drinking Water

Under the European Union (Drinking Water) Regulations, 2014, private water supplies, including private wells, are classified as “exempted supplies”. So there is no regulatory supervision of their suplies, there is no need to monitor them. Low leves of treatment and poor construction is of concern to the EPA when it comes to home supplies and the lack of awarneess by the general public.

 

More details are available on our drinking water test page >

 

 Well Water

Generally speaking private well owners are unaware of the risks associated with their water supply and many are under the assumption that they are consuming 'pure' water because it originates from groundwater. All well owners should check their wells to ensure their health is not at risk. This includes checking that:

  1. There aren’t any sources of pollution entering their well
  2. Testing the well water at least once a year
  3. Disinfection kills all E. coli including VTEC

The EPA can provide easy to use information on its website explaining what well owners should do to protect their health. More details can be found on their website at www.epa.ie

 

More details are available on our well water test page >