Nearly three quarters of Ireland’s bathing waters are of ‘Excellent’ quality.
A new Environmental Protection Agency report for 2017 has found seven beaches across the country had ‘poor’ quality water but these are mainly in the urban areas of Dublin and Galway.
Sligo’s beaches have been deemed mainly ‘excellent’ apart from Enniscrone and Mullaghmore which are classed as ‘good’ for 2017.
The report notes several high Intestinal Enterococci results in 2016 causing overall deterioration in quality at Mullaghmore and the beach also showed some elevated E-coli levels in 2017.
In Leitrim, the freshwater bathing area in Keeldra Lough was deemed excellent.
South Donegal beaches have also ranked ‘excellent’ in the report while Dooey and Magheroarty beaches further north are to get a formal bathing water classification for the first time this year.
EPA Senior Scientific Officer Peter Webster says the problems this year are mainly in urban areas with five of the problematic beaches in Dublin:
The EPA also says one bad bathing water sample can affect a beach for a number of years.
In Enniscrone it’s attributed to a stream running onto the beach while the ongoing problems with sewerage treatment in Mullaghamore could also be impacting the water quality there.
Senior Research Officer with the EPA Peter Webster says it’s important the source of the pollution is worked out locally: