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Date released: Jun 03 2010
The quality of Ireland’s bathing waters remains high, with 93% of designated bathing areas meeting the EU mandatory standards. This is according to findings released today by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The findings are available in the EPA’s summary report The Quality of Bathing Water in Ireland – An Overview for the Year 2009 and on the SPLASH website. In addition, 82 % of bathing areas met the higher guideline standards, a 4% increase compared to the previous bathing season. The release of the results coincides with the upcoming World Environment Day (5th June 2010) and World Oceans Day (8th June 2010).
Commenting on the report, Micheál O Cinnéide, Director, EPA Office of Environmental Assessment said: “These results are timely as we are approach two important dates in our environmental calendar - World Environment Day (5th June 2010) and World Oceans Day (8th June 2010). The increase of four per cent in the number of bathing waters complying with the EU Guide values is very welcome. The vast majority of designated bathing areas in Ireland are of good quality and are an excellent recreational resource for the general public.
Local authorities have the primary responsibility for ensuring these ratings are maintained and for improving water quality at the remaining areas. EPA licensing of wastewater discharges should further improve the quality of water at bathing sites that are currently being impacted by such discharges”. Report FindingsA total of 131 designated bathing areas, comprising 122 seawater and 9 freshwater, were monitored throughout the 2009 bathing season. The results of samples analysed were assessed for compliance with two sets of EU standards:
The bathing areas are classified as follows:
The key findings from this assessment show:
Dr. Micheál Lehane, Programme Manager, EPA Office of Environmental Assessment said: “Local authorities need to take action to ensure that bathing waters failing to comply with the EU minimum standards are improved. Adequate measures - including the provision of appropriate waste water treatment facilities - are required. It is also important that local authorities effectively inform the general public when pollution events occur, or are predicted. New Regulations, to take effect in 2011, place particular emphasis on this aspect and will require compliance with stricter water quality standards.”
The summary report The Quality of Bathing Water in Ireland – An Overview for the Year 2009, along with a map of the quality of Ireland’s bathing water, are now available on the EPA website.In addition, all information relating to the 2009 bathing season is now available on the EPA’s bathing water quality website SPLASH.
View compliance and water quality status of all designated bathing areas.
Throughout this summer, up-to-date bathing water quality information, as provided by the local authorities, will be displayed on SPLASH. Information about bathing safety, Blue Flag status and weather will also be available on the web site.
Further information: Niamh Leahy, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours)
Note to Editors: EU Mandatory Standards: These are the minimum standards that the water quality at bathing areas must achieve over the bathing season.EU Guide values: These are stricter guideline standards that bathing areas should endeavour to achieve over the bathing season.
The parameter Faecal streptococci is not one of the five parameters used for EU compliance assessment, however, compliance with the guide value for this parameter is considered for Blue Flag Awards.
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