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The Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) was transposed into Irish law in 2008. Its objective is to improve the protection of bather’s health and introduced stricter standards for water quality and a new method of assessment. It has established a more pro-active approach to the assessment of possible pollution risks, and to the management of bathing waters. It also places considerable emphasis on promoting increased public involvement, and for improved dissemination of information on bathing water quality to the general public.
Bathing waters are now classed into four quality categories; ‘Excellent’, ‘Good’, ‘Sufficient’, or ‘Poor’ with a minimum target of ‘Sufficient’ required to be achieved for all bathing waters. The new standards are almost twice as strict as those previously applied and assessment is undertaken on a 4 year data set rather than annually.
The quality of Ireland’s bathing waters remains very high with just over 93% of identified bathing waters (128 of 137) meeting the minimum EU standards for ‘Sufficient’ water quality over the 4 year assessment period 2012-2015.
Of these, 114 (83%) were classified as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ water quality. 2 waters were classified as ‘Changes’ and 1 as ‘New’ until sufficient numbers of samples are available for formal classification.
6 bathing waters failed to achieve ‘Sufficient’ quality of which four were first classed as ‘Poor’ in 2014. Though all showed improved quality in 2015 they will require either an ‘advice against bathing’ or ‘bathing prohibition’ restriction in place for the 2016 season while still being routinely monitored. The public can still access and use these beaches but are advised to check current water quality either via the Splash website, on bathing water notice boards at the beach, or from the relevant local authority.
A total of 137 identified bathing waters, comprising 128 seawater and 9 freshwaters, were monitored by local authorities during the 2015 bathing season. Water quality at many other locations where bathing occurs less regularly was also monitored. The Bathing Water Regulations (SI 79 of 2008) provide for input from the general public to nominate bathing areas, and each year local authorities are required to seek submissions from the public.
Read the Bathing Water Quality Report for 2015.
Download the Bathing Water Map for 2015. It shows the location of each identified bathing water and the compliance & water quality status of each bathing water. A map of Other Monitored Waters for 2015 is also available.
Check out the EPA bathing water quality information website Splash.
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