01 Jul 2022

EPA points finger at farmers over high manure nitrates in in Laois rivers Nore and Barrow

Farm slurry spreading

Slurry spreading a potential cause of river pollution

Two big rivers in Laois have high levels of pollutants linked to farming and sewage according to the latest report from the Enviornmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The Water Quality in 2020 Indicators report found that the catchment areas of the Rivers Nore and Barrow have elevated nitrogen levels that are of concern. Both rivers have a number of tributaries in Laois.

The EPA says high nitrate values in our drinking water supplies pose a risk to human health.

The EPA says Nitrate enters our waterways from the land through free draining soils to our groundwaters where it can then discharge to rivers and ultimately to our marine waters. It mainly comes from agriculture through chemical and organic (manures and urine from livestock) fertilisers and from urban waste water discharges.

Areas of the south and southeast are particularly susceptible to nitrogen losses from agriculture.

It says these nutrients, in excessive concentrations, can lead to the over-growth of plants and algae that outcompete and displace other flora and fauna. This over-growth can also cause oxygen depletion and damage the ecology of our water bodies.

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