June 12th, 2017
The Government must show greater urgency in tackling the problem of water quality, the Green party has warned after bathing prohibitions were put in place in Dollymount and Sandymount Strand over the weekend.
In periods of heavy rain, rain water and raw sewage are not separated causing pollution when flooding occurs. Bathers can be at risk of skin irritation and illness if exposed.
Donna Cooney, the Green Party Local Representative for the Clontarf area, said that the situation is of “major concern” and called for the sewage and drainage systems to be extensively upgraded.
The EPA’s State of the Environment report released last November found that untreated sewage is still discharged from 43 areas across the country, over half of which are located in Cork, Donegal and Galway. Of the 43 locations, 36 discharge directly into estuarine or coastal locations across the country.
“We can’t risk having sewage in our bathing water whenever there is heavy rain,” said Ms Donna, who herself swims regularly in the sea.
“Warm weather is set to return on Wednesday, and we fear tourism could be negatively affected by these water quality issues,” she added.
A recent EPA report on bathing water quality in 2016 found that the overall quality of Ireland’s bathing waters was very good, with 130 of 140 identified waters meeting strict EU standards.
However, six coastal bathing waters failed to meet the minimum standard and are classified as poor: Ballyloughane (Galway City Council); Merrion Strand (Dublin City Council); Loughshinny (Fingal County Council); Portrane (Fingal County Council); Tran a bhForbacha (Galway County Council); Clifden (Galway County Council).
Throughout the season, current water quality information and details of any incidents affecting bathing waters will be displayed on the national bathing water website, splash.epa.ie.
A Twitter notification service, @EPABathingWater, is also available to provide incident alerts and information of interest to bathers.