WAT A DISGRACE; Pollution fouls almost third of water sources.
NEARLY a third of rivers and ground water sources in reland are polluted by human, animal and industrial wastes, a new report has revealed.
The study carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency also shows standards have fallen in coastal and estuary waters.
The news will come as a blow to water chiefs after they spent tens of millions of euro on treatments.
The EPA's Water Indicator Report also showed the contamination of ground water with animal and human waste has been a persistent problem. A third of all sources showed signs of pollution from faecal bacteria called coliforms.
Some areas most prone to the problem were in Connaught.
In many cases of contamination, polluted water was found to be draining into Lough Corrib - the source of the current water crisis in Co Galway. The samples for the report were taken throughout the country last year.
The report showed that progress made in recent years to reduce contamination had been reversed in the last 12 months with noticeable rises in pollution levels in many samples.
Findings showed there has been a slight fall in some rivers - but 30 per cent are still polluted.
Over the last 20 years five of the 11 main river systems have shown increased signs of pollution from phosphates.
Nine of these had increased pollution levels caused by nitrates. Both of those occur mainly because of fertilisers and untreated animal and human waste and are seen as the primary causes of water pollution.