Drinking Water

The quality of drinking water is a powerful environmental determinant of health. Water is essential to life and a person's survival depends on the availability of clean and wholesome drinking water. Provision and management of safe and secure drinking water not only supports public health and well-being but promotes socio-economic development.

The HSE assists in the protection of the health of the public by advocating safe drinking water and participating in a timely response to drinking water events when they occur.

Safe, quality drinking water is essential for our health. Irish Water and Local Authorities are responsible for public water supplies.

The EU (Drinking Water) Regulations 2014 set out standards for drinking water quality and safety.  If there is a failure to meet these standards or there is an incident which may present a risk to human health, Irish Water or the local authority must consult with the HSE to agree on any action to be taken to protect the health of consumers.

Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water
Trihalomethanes in drinking water
Copper and nickel in drinking water  

Metals can be present in drinking water but they are only allowed to be present up to specific legal limits. Copper and nickel are examples of metals that may be found in drinking water.

You can read more belowabout what to do if high levels of copper are found in your drinking water:

HSE Copper in Drinking Water Frequently Asked Questions (PDF, size 133.7 KB, 3 pages)

You can read more below about what to do if high levels of nickel are found in your drinking water:

HSE Nickel in Drinking Water Fequently Asked Questions (PDF, size 128.9 KB, 2 pages)

Nitrate in Drinking Water

This position paper provides a summary of the issues in relation to nitrate and nitrite in drinking water, including health, legislation and interventions.

EPA and HSE Joint Position Paper on Nitrate and Nitrite in Drinking Water (PDF, size 579 KB, 17 pages)

Pesticides in Drinking Water

FAQs on pesticides in drinking water (PDF, size 584 KB, 14 pages)

Water Systems in Hotels

Advice on managing water systems in hotels and other Accommodation Sites during and after prolonged shutdown or partial shutdown (PDF, size 528 KB, 2 pages)

Guidance for Food Businesses

Information for food businesses to ensure that all the necessary measures are taken to ensure the safety of the water supply (PDF, size 487 KB, 2 pages)

Information on the Operation of Commercial Coffee Machines and Dishwashers during Boil Water Notices (PDF, size 291 KB, 2 pages)

Private Well Water

You will find information on Private Well Water here: Private Well Water

Bathing Water

Under the Bathing Water Quality Regulations, 2008 a Local Authority must monitor ‘identified’ bathing areas in its area during the bathing season (1st June to 15th September).   Identified bathing areas means those bathing areas listed in the legislation.  

The Local Authority must promptly notify the EPA and the HSE National Environmental Health Service of any situation that has, or could reasonably be expected to have, an adverse impact on bathing water quality and on the health of bathers.

The HSE has produced a guidance document entitled ‘Bathing Water and Health. A Health Service Executive guide for responding to incidents of microbiological pollution and/or other adverse circumstances in relation to both saline and freshwater bathing’.

This guidance document is used by the HSE to provide a standardised basis for responses to any incidents of microbiological pollution and/or other adverse circumstances that may be received from Local Authorities.                                     

Guidance for responding to incidents of microbiological pollution and other adverse circumstances in relation to both saline and fresh bathing water (PDF, size 2.46 KB, 41 pages)  

You will find information on the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008