Bathing Water Quality in 2016

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 (130 of 140) meeting the minimum EU standards for ‘Sufficient’ water quality over the four year assessment period 2013-2016.

Of these, 120 (85.8%) were classified as either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ water quality. One water were classified as ‘Changes’ and three as ‘New’ until sufficient numbers of samples are available for formal classification.

Six bathing waters failed to achieve ‘Sufficient’ quality of which three were also ‘Poor’ in 2015. They will require either an ‘advice against bathing’ or ‘bathing prohibition’ restriction in place for the 2017 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 website, on bathing water notice boards at the beach, or from the relevant local authority.

Identified Bathing Waters

A total of 140 identified bathing waters, comprising 131 seawater and 9 freshwaters, were monitored by local authorities during the 2016 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.

Learn more

Read the Bathing Water Quality Report for 2016

Download the Bathing Water Map for 2016. 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 2016 is also available.

Check out the EPA bathing water quality information website