18 Aug 2022

Elevated nitrogen levels in Rivers Suir, Nore and Barrow


The report was recently published by The Environmental Protection Agency

Catchment areas along the Rivers Nore, Suir and Barrow have elevated nitrogen concentrations and are of concern according to a recent report by The Environmental Protection Agency.
The report finds that inputs of nitrogen from rivers to marine environment continues to increase, particularly in the south and southeast of the country. According to the report there are strong indications that these nitrogen inputs are increasing the level of nutrient pollution in the marine environment.
Water quality monitoring is carried out under The Water Framework Directive. The EPA undertakes a full assessment of the overall quality and ecological status of Ireland’s water quality every three years and reports on the indicators of water quality in the intervening years.
The report explains that nitrates enters rivers from the land through free draining soils to the groundswater where it can then discharge to rivers and comes mainly from agriculture through chemical and organic fertilisers (manure and urine from livestock) and from urban waste water discharges.
The report concludes that recent analysis by the EPA shows that up to 85% of nitrogen in rivers in predominantly rural catchments in the south and southeast comes from agriculture and goes on to state that ‘it is essential for the protection of our rivers, groundswaters and estuaries that urgent and focussed action is taken to reduce the nitrate losses to our waters.”
To read the full report see

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