There is good news for those planning summer trips to Donegal’s beaches as the latest EPA report finds the majority of the county’s bathing waters are ‘Excellent’.
Out of Donegal’s 21 beaches included in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report, 14 were graded Excellent, 4 were Good and one was Sufficient.
Dooey and Magheroarty were newly designated for protection under the Bathing Water Regulations and are to be formally classified in 2018. They appear likely to achieve Excellent quality given current trends, the report said.
The waters at Lady’s Bay in Buncrana were classed as Sufficient due to the vulnerability of the beach to pollution. Lady’s Bay exhibited episodic low level pollution, with the likely source being from storm overflow discharges.
Portnablagh, in the Sheephaven Bay, showed very variable Enterococci counts and just exceeds the criteria for Excellent quality.
Rathmullan Beach has shown more variable water quality since 2016 when compared to earlier years particularly for E. coli, the report said.
Lisfannon in Inishowen has just exceeded the threshold for Excellent quality due to Enterococci
The EPA 2017 Bathing Water Quality report found that the overall quality of Ireland’s bathing waters remains good with 132 of 142 identified waters meeting strict EU standards. These standards provide a high level of protection for bathers.
Andy Fanning, Programme Manager of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment said,
“Our assessment shows that urban beaches are under greater pressure that those in more rural locations. More needs to be done to eliminate the sources of bacterial contamination that are particular to urban locations. The main issues are misconnections to surface water drains and other run off from urban environments, together with sewage discharges. Work is needed by local authorities, Irish Water, businesses and homeowners to ensure that contaminated wastewater is correctly collected and treated before being released into the environment.”
Concluding, Peter Webster explained how the public can access current information about bathing water quality:
“During the summer, current water quality information and details of any incidents affecting bathing waters will be displayed on the website www.beaches.ie. If you are heading to the beach with your family or friends, it is advisable to check beaches.ie or the Twitter notification service, @EPABeaches, before heading out. When you get to the beach you should always check the local notice board for information on current water quality.”