A newly published report by the EPA on Bathing Water Quality around Ireland has found that County Clare’s 11 designated bathing areas were adjudged to have “Excellent Water Quality” during 2015.
Bathing waters were classified into four categories, namely ‘Poor’, ‘Sufficient’, ‘Good’ and ‘Excellent’ category. The classification system is based on the levels of E. Coli and intestinal enterococci detected in the bathing water during the 2015 bathing season.
Clare is one of only five Local Authority areas to receive “Excellent” classifications for each of its bathing areas, the others being Kerry, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Leitrim and Louth.
Clare’s 11 bathing areas are Ballyalla Lake (Ennis), White Strand (Milltown Malbay), Ballycuggeran (Lough Derg), Cappa Pier (Kilrush), Bishopsquarter, White Strand (Doonbeg), Kilkee, Spanish Point, Lahinch, Fanore and Mountshannon (Lough Derg).
Welcoming the news, Cllr. James Breen, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council said, “Overall water quality in County Clare bathing waters remains extremely high with all bathing waters showing ‘Excellent’ classification. This is hugely significant and positive news considering the new EU standards for bathing areas, introduced in 2014, are deemed by the EPA to be almost twice as strict as those applied in previous years.”
“The EPA Report will give all tourism interests and coastal communities the confidence to promote our quality beaches and other bathing locations, particularly in light of the growing numbers of visitors arriving in Clare. I commend the Environment Section of Clare County Council and those living and working in the vicinity of Clare’s bathing locations for their due diligence and hard work in delivering this result,” he added.
“This Report will serve as a tremendous boost to our County’s reputation and of course, the environment,” said Paul Moroney Senior Engineer, Clare County Council.
“The Council is delighted that each of the 11 designated bathing areas that it monitors achieved ‘Excellent’ status. Our goal now is to maintain these high standards throughout 2016,” he explained.
“Despite a cool and, at times, wet and windy summer, the overall quality of Ireland’s bathing waters continues to be extremely good with the stricter standards providing a high level of protection for bathers,” said Dr Matt Crowe, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment.
For the 2015 bathing season, 137 identified bathing waters were assessed. 128 of these are coastal waters and 9 are inland freshwaters. Overall, 128 (93.4%) of waters met the minimum required standard of ‘Sufficient’ – the same number as in 2014.
The summary report ‘Bathing Water Quality in Ireland – A Report for the Year 2015’ is available to download from www.epa.ie.