Frequently Asked Questions regarding Drinking Water Quality

Frequently Asked Questions regarding Drinking Water Quality

Common queries regarding drinking water quality

What is the quality of drinking water in my area?

For further information on public water quality, please follow the link Drinking Water Quality

To check the drinking water quality results  on private regulated supplies for your area please visit our Online Water Quality Information System. Please note that this monitoring is only for private regulated drinking water supplies. 

Alternatively, if you are on a private regulated water supply eg school/business/premises open to the public etc and would like to get the drinking water quality tested. Please phone or email to arrange to have your supply tested. 

Meath County Council's Online Water Quality Information System provides results of parameters tested. A short technical and "plain english" description is provided within the system for the parameters, advising of the public health implication of the parameter tested.

For more detailed explanation of the parameters view the useful guide from the National Federation of Group Water Schemes below: 

Why is there a chlorine taste or odour from my water?

Chlorine is used in the treatment and distribution to disinfect the water supply.  There can be minor variations in the amount and the form of the chlorine present in each water supply. For this reason if your premises is located near the water treatment plant, the level of chlorine may be a little higher in your tap water than it is at properties several miles further away. The level of chlorine dosed into your drinking water is carefully controlled and monitored. The Council is required to have in place a residual disinfectant management procedure designed to ensure a minimum chlorine level at the remotest part of the network whilst also ensuring the maximum chlorine level is still acceptable to all consumers. Drinking water treated with chlorine poses no risk to health. However if you do still have any concerns please contact Uisce Éireann at the details below.

Uisce Éireann - Telephone: 1800 278 278 

Why is my water brown, orange or yellow?

The most common cause of brown/yellow or orange water is suspended particulate iron, which is naturally occuring in the groundwater in large areas of County Meath. As the water travels through the distribution system variation in velocity of flow can cause particulate matter to be deposited on the internal surfaces of pipes. If the water supply is interrupted these deposits can become dislodged causing brown, orange or yellow water.

This discoloration should only be temporary in nature. Typically the problem resolves an hour or two after the disturbance is finished. To clear the system run the affected tap for two to three minutes.

If the problem persists contact Uisce Éireann for further advice.

Uisce Éireann - Telephone: 1800 278 278 

Why is my water white from time to time?

White discolouration in water can be caused by trapped air, this is completely harmless. The air can be introduced into the water supply following repair work on the distribution network, or by a pocket of air becoming trapped in the internal domestic pipe work or during interruptions your water supply. Aerated water has a cloudy or milky white appearance. To confirm that the cloudiness is caused by trapped air, fill a glass of water from the cold tap in the kitchen and watch how it clears from the bottom of the glass upward. It can take up to 10 minutes to clear. Any air trapped in the mains should clear within 2 to 3 hours.

If this problem persists please contact Uisce Éireann for further advice.

Uisce Éireann - Telephone: 1800 278 278 

Why is water fluoridated in Ireland?

In Ireland, the decision to fluoridate water supplies was made by the Irish Government in the 1960s, as a public health measure to reduce the level of dental decay. The amount of fluoride added to drinking water in Ireland is controlled by law to be in the range of 0.6 to 0.8mg/l.

Fluoridation of water supplies is governed by Fluoridation of Water Supplies Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 42 of 2007) and European Communities (Drinking Water) Regulations, 2014 (S.I No. 122 of 2014).    A Code of Practice has been produced in accordance with the Fluoridation of Water Supplies Regulations 2007 (Statutory Instrument No. 42 of 2007) made under the Health (Fluoridation of Water Supplies) Act, 1960.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has responsibility for coordinating all matters relating to the implementation of the fluoridation of water supplies in Ireland.. There is information about fluorides and public health (pdf) on the HSE's website.

The following water supplies are fluoridated in County Meath:

  •  Navan Mid Meath Public Water Supply
  •  Kells/ Oldcastle Public Water Supply
  •  East Meath Public Water Supply
  •  Dunshaughlin Public Water Supply
  •  Ballivor Public Water Supply
  •  Trim Public Water Supply
  •  Public Water Supplies imported from Fingal County Council

Water Hardness

Hardness is a natural characteristic of water which can enhance its palatibility.  It is perfectly safe for everyone to drink. Hardness in water is a measure of the concentration of Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3) in the water. It can appear in the form of scaling and deposits in kettles. With high concentrations, there sometimes appears to be an "oily film" on the surface of beverages (tea in particular). This is a thin film of limescale and is harmless.

Hardness levels and limits

There is no specific upper limit for hardness under the Irish Drinking Water Regulations.
Hardness is generally expressed as mg/l CaCO3 units however other units may sometimes be used. The following is one of several arbitrary classifications of water hardness.

  • Soft  Up to 50 mg/l CaCO3
  • Moderately Soft  51-100 mg/l CaCO3
  • Slightly Hard  101-150 mg/l CaCO3
  • Moderately Hard  151-250 mg/l CaCO3
  • Hard  251-350 mg/l CaCO3
  • Excessively Hard  Over 351 mg/l CaCO3

Hardness levels in County Meath

The water in County Meath originates from both surface water and also groundwater and hardness levels vary across the county.  All water supplied in County Meath complies with the Drinking Water Regulations.

The following table summarises the various hardness scales that are described in Dishwasher and Washing Machine Handbooks and the typical values in different parts of County Meath.

Purchasing a Water Filter

If you are considering spending money on a water treatment unit, here are some important items you should consider.

If you are on the Public Water Supply, your drinking water supply must meet European drinking water quality standards. Water that meets these standards is safe to drink without having to install a water filter system in your home. Meath County Council carries out testing of all its public water supplies and if the water is not safe, there is a requirement to inform consumers.

If a water filter company approaches you claiming that your water is not safe, then our advice to you is first to check the status of your supply by contacting Uisce Éireann or the Health Services Executive, who will be able to provide you with advice on the quality of your water supply.

Different filters do different things, therefore it is important to ensure that if you do have to install a water filter on your private supply, you should seek professional advice before making your decision to purchase.

Be aware that if you have a water treatment unit on your supply, you should ensure that it is maintained regularly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Often filters need to be maintained by replacing cartridges and membranes. If these are not replaced your supply could be at risk.

If you have to purchase a water treatment unit for your supply, you should ensure that the unit is purchased from a reputable supplier, and you should find out about the maintenance costs and replacement cartridges etc, before purchasing.

If you require any further information please contact Uisce Éireann.

Uisce Éireann - Telephone: 1800 278 278