Written answers

Thursday, 8 December 2005

Department of Agriculture and Food

Water Supply Contamination

8:00 pm

Photo of Eamon RyanEamon Ryan (Dublin South, Green Party)
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Question 92: To ask the Minister for Agriculture and Food the support local authorities will receive when waters become contaminated with cryptosporidium through a variety of routes including run-off from agricultural land on which infected animals have defecated and following the spreading of slurry. [38456/05]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Minister, Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs; Minister, Department of Agriculture and Food; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The provision of financial support to local authorities is a matter for the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Local authorities have specific powers under the Water Pollution and Waste Management Acts to address water pollution and, in particular, are empowered to prescribe specific measures to stop or prevent water pollution or require farmers to engage in nutrient management planning. Furthermore, local authorities are centrally involved in the implementation of the water framework directive.

Following the outbreak of cryptosporidium in Carlow during April and May, Carlow County Council conducted an investigation to establish the source of the outbreak. The investigation focused on sources of household domestic pollution, farm yard run-off and animal contamination of water courses. However, despite exhaustive efforts, the source of the outbreak was never established.

In the event of an animal health issue affecting or posing a risk to human health, my Department's policy remains unchanged. As in the past, all available technical support will be provided to assist in reducing or, if possible, eliminating the risk to human health. In its report on the incident referred to, Carlow County Council publicly acknowledged the assistance, support, advice and co-operation of my Department during and after the cryptosporidium outbreak.

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