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Immediate action needed to preserve Blessington Lakes says Matthews

Green Party TD Deputy Steven Matthews has expressed concern about the recent pollution related algal bloom in the beautiful Blessington lakes. This comes on the back of the recent highly publicised ‘green sludge’ in Lough Neagh. While not as severe as Lough Neagh, Deputy Matthews believes action must be taken to protect Wicklow’s vital water source.

“Algal blooms happen when there are excessive nutrients in the water such as nitrates and phosphates. The main sources of this nutrient enrichment is from agricultural run-off of slurry and animal wastes and from overloaded or inefficient waste water treatment plants. In some cases groundwater can be impacted by poorly performing septic tanks.

“The impacts of this water pollution, known as ‘eutrophication’ can be quite serious on aquatic life, animals or human health where they come in contact with the toxic blue-Green algae (Cyanobacteria).

“The excessively warm September and continuing warm October increases water temperature which assists the excessive nutrients to further de-oxygenate the water which has severe impact on fish and other aquatic life.

“This is another obvious warning to us that our water quality is deteriorating. We have seen the worst effects of water pollution in Lough Neagh our islands largest freshwater body where it has in parts become a toxic green sludge in a hypertrophic condition. Blessington lakes are beautiful, they are a source of drinking water for Dublin & Wicklow, vitally important for tourism and recreation for visitors and local residents and every action must be taken to prevent further environmental damage.

“I have written to the chief executive of Wicklow County Council to ask for an immediate assessment and investigation into the matter. When I was studying Planning & Environmental Management, I worked at the WCC laboratory testing water quality across Wicklow so I know they are very capable and experienced in investigating, monitoring and testing water quality and can quickly mobilise to determine the extent of this algal bloom and issue warnings to lake users if necessary,” concluded Deputy Matthews.

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