IMPORTANT NOTICE - Advice for home owners in areas subject to Flooding
The EPA has issued the following advice on Septic Tanks - what to do after flooding
- Due to the potential for toxic gases in all septic systems, any servicing, cleaning, repairs, internal damage assessments and emptying/ pumping must be carried out by trained and experienced specialists.
- After the flooding subsides, replace any dislodged manhole covers and check the system for any external signs of damage such as settlement, ponding of waste water, overflowing, blocked drains or not accepting water from the house.
- If you suspect damage, or if your system relies on electrical components such as pumps, have the entire system assessed by a professional service engineer.
- Ensure that any nearby private wells are checked and disinfected prior to use by following the EPA advice (available on www.epa.ie) for private well owners on what to do after flooding. http://www.epa.ie/newsandevents/news/name,58775,en.html#.VoZLec8rHcs
As always, do not enter flood waters as manholes may have been dislodged and the flood water will be contaminated and may pose a risk to health.
Statutory responsibility for water management and protection rests primarily with local authorities. Various pieces of legislation enable local authorities to:
The text of Irish Legislation can be viewed online in the Irish Statute Book available on the Attorney Generals website.
The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC is also a key legislation, which will focus work in the areas of Water Quality, through the establishment of River Basin Management Systems.
The Environmental Protection Agency carries out monitoring of the biological river water quality at River Sites in County Donegal. Biological River Water quality is ranked by Q value, whereby the highest (best) Q rating is 5 and the lowest Q rating is 1. The EPA website contains interactive maps that give a map display of river monitoring stations colored by Q rating.
In addition, the EPA publishes a 3-year summary of its findings and looks at trends for rivers, lakes and estuarine waters.
With many lakes used as abstraction sources for drinking water, there is a comprehensive programme of monitoring carried out on lakes in the county. In addition, the EPA requires that of the 120 lakes, approximately 40 are monitored annually on a 3-year cycle, using the following 3 indicator parameters – total phosphorus, chlorophyll and water transparency, to assess the level of eutrophication and its’ effects. The input of phosphorus, primarily through losses from agricultural activities, (such as farmyard run-off & chemical fertilizer application), and municipal & industrial waste discharges, commonly results in algal, cyanobacterial and other plant growth, which in turn, leads to poor light penetration and oxygen depletion in the deeper layers of the lake.
The EPA reports on the water quality of lakes on a sliding scale from Oligotrophic, (unpolluted), mesotrophic, eutrophic to hypertrophic, (highly polluted).
Effluent discharges from commercial activities, including industries and hotels, may be classified into two types, each requiring a licence under different sections of the Local Government (Water Pollution) Act 1977 & 1990;
The Council maintains Registers of these licences. The application for a Discharge Licence is similar to an application for Planning Permission, with the same necessity to publish a public notice in the press, (in the case of waters), and the same procedure for appeal (to An Bord Pleanala). There is an ongoing programme of sampling of discharges to ensure compliance with licence conditions and the Council may issue notices, (under section 12 or 16 of the Act), specifying measures to be taken within a prescribed period to (a) prevent water pollution and/or (b) cease the pollution of waters and requiring the mitigation or remedying of any effects of such pollution. The Council may also prosecute for water pollution offences and/or seek court orders, including High Court injunctions, to prevent, terminate, mitigate or remedy pollution and its effects.
Application forms for discharge to waters are available here
Application forms for discharge to sewers are available here
Large industrial or agricultural activities require an Integrated Pollution Control Licence from the Environmental Protection Agency. Details of the classes of activities needing an IPC are available at www.epa.ie.
Further information can be obtained by contacting: Central Laboratory, Magheranan, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal. Tel: 074 91 53900
Loss of Phosphorus and Nitrogen from Agricultural Activities has been identified as a major contributing factor to the pollution of water bodies with these nutrients.
The EC GAP Regulations contain advice and recommendations for farmers as to -
Copies of this document are available from The Department of the Environment, and Donegal County Council Environment Section.
Guidelines for Slurry/Fertiliser Spreading
Check the weather forecast before spreading. Do not apply organic or chemical fertilisers when heavy rain is forecast within the next 48 hours.
Avoid spreading organic or chemical fertiliser:
No Chemical Fertiliser should be applied within 1.5m of any watercourse.
Avoid polluting surface waters and wells by leaving a buffer strip between them and the land on which organic fertilisers are applied. The Table below sets out the general guidance on the widths that may be appropriate for buffer strips. It is essential that the recommended strip widths are observed in the case of domestic wells and public water supply sources. The width of the strip required to streams, lakes/drains and lake/main river channels will depend in each case on soil type, slop, and vegetative cover.
|Recommended Buffer Strips||(Meters)|
|Streams and Drains||10|
|Lakes and Main River Channels||20|
|Public Water Supply Sources||50-100|
Further information on Agriculture in General can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Teagasc, IFA.