Only a few dozen of the country’s 973 public water supplies are being audited by the country’s environmental watchdog each year due to budgetary constraints.
In 2013 and 2014, just 6% and 5% of public water supplies were subject to a major investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Just 6% of drinking water supplies were audited by the agency in its most recently published report.
There are 973 public water supplies across the country and just 62 of these were inspected by the environmental watchdog in 2014.
Some 43 of the audits were scheduled and 19 were reactive after the EPA was notified of a potential problem.
In that same year, the EPA investigated 606 reports from the public of alleged quality breaches in the country’s drinking water supply.
And as the EPA’s annual drinking water report showed, one third of the water supplies audited had to have disinfection improvement programmes put in place in 2014, as all bacteria had not been destroyed in the earlier water treatment process.
A year before that, in 2013, the same small number of supplies were audited.
Just 5% of the country’s creaking water system was subject to a major evaluation — 53 out of 978 supplies were subjected to a full audit by the EPA.
Thirty four of these audits were scheduled while 19 were following reported problems.
A spokeswoman for the EPA defended its audit numbers saying it “targets its limited resources to where it is most required and where it will be most effective”.
“The majority of public water supplies are compliant and therefore pose limited risk while the EPA has identified key supplies in need of remedial action, there are 119 supplies on the remedial action list.
“The majority of these supplies have been audited in the past and the EPA is fully aware of the risks/ issues at these plants,” she said.
According to the EPA, audits can be carried out after remedial work has been carried out at a plant to ensure the works were effective, they can also be carried out to see if disinfection is working or following large numbers of complaints from the public.
Low-risk supplies are also audited at times to see if they remain low risk.
The EPA says audits are also carried out if a county is known to have a poor track record around water quality.
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