The Environmental Laboratory of Wicklow County Council has the responsibility for the Environmental Protection of the most important natural resource in County Wicklow, our water resource.
Sustainable development is only possible where our policies, through legislation, are aligned to take account of the many pressures on our precious resource.
A community that does not have a safe drinking water supply or a proper means of sewage disposal, or the enjoyment of the natural amenity will not be sustained.
The Local Government (Water Pollution) Acts 1977-1990 enables the council to control pollution through the licensing of discharges of trade and sewage effluents, the issuing of enforcement notices to prevent and stop the occurrence of pollution, and the prosecution of offenders.
The legislation that the laboratory staff are tasked to implement include the Surface Water Abstraction Regulations 1989, Drinking Water Regulations 2000, Nitrate Directive 1991, Urban Wastewater Regulations 1994, Phosphate Regulations 1998, Dangerous Substances Regulations 2001, and Water Framework Directive 2003.
The Health Service Executive conduct the routine monitoring of the public and private water supplies on this Authority’s behalf and the vast majority of these samples are free of E. Coli bacteria. The HSE also monitor the quality of the bathing waters during the bathing season.
In addition to implementing the monitoring provisions of the legislation on water quality, the laboratory also has responsibility of responding to pollution incidents and of reporting on the environmental impacts of planning applications for agricultural, housing, commercial and industrial development and for assessing compliance with environmental conditions.
Wicklow County Council has been assigned responsibility for monitoring river, lakes and estuaries under the draft national monitoring programme since 2007.