Phil Hogan, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, today (3 May 2012) welcomed the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ‘TheQuality of Bathing Water in Ireland’ overview for 2011.
Results for the 2011 bathing season show that overall, the quality of bathing water in Ireland improved in comparison with the 2010 equivalent with 98.5% (133 out of 135) of bathing areas complying with the EU mandatory standard, equating to ‘sufficient’ water quality, while 83% (112 bathing areas) achieved the higher guide standard, equating to ‘good’ water quality. Five new beaches were identified for 2011 and the number of designated bathing waters increased for the first time in 10 years, rising to 135.
Speaking at the Custom House, where he was presented with a copy of the report, the Minister expressed his satisfaction with the overall results, which showed the highest number complying with the EU mandatory standard since 2000. He noted, however, that there was a net decrease of 6 locations complying with the higher ‘guide’ standard.
While almost 99% of Ireland’s identified bathing waters meet the current minimum standards, the stricter criteria in the higher guide standard requires local authorities to make extra efforts to improve the water quality and to tackle any potential sources of pollution.
“We will have to redouble our efforts to maintain and improve bathing water quality standards”the Minister said.
The Minister noted that in 2011 the Bathing Water Quality Regulations, which were introduced in 2008, become operational. These Regulations give a stronger focus to the protection of public health, to the management of bathing waters and on the provision of information to the public. The EPA’s ‘Splash’ website www.bathingwater.ie is one of the channels by which better information is now made available to the general public.
“The easy availability of information on topics such as, compliance with water quality standards, current weather and tidal information as well as the availability of lifeguards, is a valuable resource for all bathers”, the Minister concluded.