Written Answers. - Water Quality.

Breeda Moynihan-Cronin

Ceist:

21 Ms B. Moynihan-Cronin asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the progress to date with regard to the implementation of the 1992 nitrates directive; if it is intended to designate the entire country as a nitrate vulnerable zone or if it is intended to operate a geographical zone approach; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17349/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

169 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he proposes to designate the draining areas of all major rivers as nitrate vulnerable zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17530/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

201 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government when the Government will determine nitrate vulnerable zones for Ireland; and when the Government will implement the relevant European Union directives on nitrate use. [17572/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

206 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the number of nitrate vulnerable zones designated by Teagasc. [17577/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

208 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the nitrate levels as determined by studies carried out by the Environmental Protection Agency in rivers in each county; his Department's proposals to improve the stated targeted objectives in this area; his proposals for the future to reduce nitrate levels in western rivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17579/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

219 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government if he will publish the submissions made to his Department by the Department of Agriculture and Food and by Teagasc in connection with the proposals to classify the whole country as a nitrate vulnerable zone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17595/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

313 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his pro posals in relation to the dangers of nitrate pollution in view of the fact that statistics show that 38% of public water supplies were polluted; and his proposals to control the use of fertiliser and slurry spreading in nitrate sensitive areas to comply with the European directive. [17708/02]

Bernard Allen

Ceist:

335 Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the progress regarding the implementation of the 1992 nitrates directive; if it is intended to designate the entire country as a nitrate vulnerable zone; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17738/02]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 21, 169, 201, 206, 208, 219, 313 and 335 together.

I refer to the reply to Question No. 1491 on 9 October 2002.

The most recent comprehensive data on water quality, including data on nitrates in waters, are contained in the report Water Quality in Ireland 1998-2000, issued by the EPA in January 2002. The report includes data on the extent of eutrophication in surface waters and on the levels of nitrogen compounds in ground waters and surface waters. The most recent data in relation to nitrates in drinking water are contained in the EPA report on the quality of drinking water in Ireland for the year 2000. This report indicates a compliance rate of just over 99% with the prescribed standard for nitrates, 50 mg/l nitrates, but also that breaches of the standard were recorded in nine counties. These reports are available in the Oireachtas Library.