5 most common water complaints in Ireland

Cathal Walsh
Environmental Blogger
Tuesday, 18th June 2019
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In Ireland we are privileged enough to enjoy a relatively high standard of drinking water. We owe our famous green scenery due to the damp conditions and no shortage of rain.  There is still a need to be vigilant and get ones drinking water tested regularly to ensure it is free from contaminants. Here at H2olabcheck we have compiled a list of the 5 most common drinking water complaints we have seen from our customer base. Here they are in no particular order.

Corrosive water is a very common complaint in Ireland.  The tendency of water to corrode si measures by a metric called the  Langelier Saturation Index (LSI).  If you have corrosive water you should consider yourself lucky if you catch the problem early with a water test or by observing some of the signs (blue/green colour around water fixtures).   If your house has a system containing lead pipes then corrosive water would cause some of the lead to dissolve, this means you could be ingesting high levels of lead as a result.  It also causes pinhole leaks in copper piping which eventually lead to bursts. It is often the case here that people may return from holidays to find their house flooded as a result of this.

The best way to counteract this problem is to test your water regularly and be vigilant.

  • Bacteria

There is a large range of reasons why bacteria might get into water, there is equally a large variety of types of bacteria that might get into water. From our experience, bacterial contamination is more common with well water and is commonly a result of human or animal faecal matter finding its way into the source as a result of either a burst pipe or seeping into the water through an unprotected point.  Some common types of bacteria people may find in their water supply are Clostridium perfringens, Coliform, Escherichia coli (E.coli), and Enterococci.

These types of bacteria can cause illness varying from mild to quite severe so vigilance is needed to ensure your water is free from bacteria. If you are getting your water from a groundwater supply ensure that no animals area allowed to defecate near the water.  Whatever your source, it is always wise to carry out a bacterial check on your water every few months.


  • Heavy metals

Heavy metal being present in water is also quite a common complaint in Ireland.  The heavy metals complained of here include :

Aluminium                     Chromium         Cadmium                   Selenium

Antimony                        Copper               Manganese                 Sodium

Arsenic                            Iron                     Mercury

Boron                              Lead                     Nickel

The most common one here is lead, this is because much of the plumbing works carried out in the 1900s, which we still use today in many places, utilized lead piping.

Heavy metals are ones which worry people because although they may go relatively undetected, many of them have reported carcinogenic effects and are quite toxic.

If you have any concern about this at all, be sure to purchase a heavy metals test for your home.


Ireland is still a very agricultural country and as a result there is a lot of biocides being used by farmers. The main reason in which these pesticides make their way into the water is through run off from fields during improper and use through improper disposal of these pesticides.

Pesticides being used today are very potent, and as a result only a small amount leaking into a part of groundwater or surface water could cause widespread contamination. People are also becoming more vigilant as recent lawsuits have shown that some widely used pesticides can be very carcinogenic.

If you have any concern about pesticides in your water then do not hesitate to buy a water test to give your water a thorough check for them.


  • Fertilisers

Like biocides, fertilisers are also used widely throughout the country. Either improper use or heavy rain can cause these fertilisers to run off into water sources, in particular surface water sources.

This can cause a number of problems not only for those consuming the water but also for the local eco-system. Agricultural run off is a notorious cause of algae.  The main reason for this is the nitrates present in fertilisers. These nitrates can be very dangerous for infants if present in water.


If you have any concern about agricultural run-off in your water, consider getting a test for it.



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