THE report by the Environmental Protection Agency on Bathing Water Quality shows that each of Clare’s 11 bathing areas were deemed to be compliant with mandatory water quality levels in 2013.
Bathing waters were classified into three categories, namely ‘Good’, ‘Sufficient’ and ‘Poor’. The classification system is based on the levels of E. Coli and intestinal enterococci detected in the bathing water during the 2013 bathing season.
All 11 bathing areas around Clare were adjudged to have ‘Good Water Quality’ having complied with EU Guide and Mandatory levels, including Ballyalla Lake, on the outskirts of Ennis, which was deemed to only have ‘Sufficient Water Quality’ in 2012.
The other bathing water areas are White Strand (Milltown Malbay), Ballycuggeran (Lough Derg), Cappa Pier (Kilrush), Bishopsquarter, White Strand (Doonbeg), Kilkee, Spanish Point, Lahinch, Fanore and Mountshannon (Lough Derg).
According to Paul Moroney, senior engineer with Clare County Council, the local authority is delighted that each of the 11 designated bathing areas that it monitors achieved ‘Good’ status. “In particular, the Council is pleased that Ballyalla Lake had good results in 2013 and it is working to ensure that improved status is maintained this year and for the future,” he added.
Of the 18 local authorities who have designated bathing areas, six achieved ‘good’ water quality status for all of their identified bathing waters. These were: Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Meath, Clare, Kerry, Donegal, and Louth.
Commenting on the results, Dr Matthew Crowe, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Assessment, noted that Irish bathing waters continue to be among the best in northern Europe. He said, “By contrast to the 2012 bathing season, the warm dry conditions last year meant that many waters returned to their normal good quality. Our projections show that almost 90 per cent of Ireland’s designated bathing waters should meet the new ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ water quality standards which will come into force from this year.”