Lady’s Bay in Buncrana has been slapped with a ‘poor’ bathing water quality rating by the EPA.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has today published the Bathing Water in Ireland report for 2021, which shows that 78 per cent of bathing sites have excellent water quality.
Sixteen of Donegal’s bathing waters achieved an excellent rating and two were ‘good’. However Buncrana was among the two bathing waters that were classified as ‘Poor’ in 2021 alongside Balbriggan Front Strand Beach in Dublin.
The main sources of pollution affecting the bathing water at Lady’s Bay are the Buncrana waste water treatment plant, combined stormwater overflows, and surface run-off, which are made worse by heavy rainfall. Irish Water is due to begin upgrade works at Westbrook pumping station and the sewer network during the summer of 2022 and a new larger capacity storm tank is also due to be constructed at Buncrana waste water treatment plant.
Commenting on the report, Dr Eimear Cotter, Director of the EPA’s Office of Evidence and Assessment, said:
“Bathing water quality in Ireland is high and last year saw further improvements compared with 2020. This is good news as we approach the summer when we can enjoy our local beaches and bathing areas, which are an important natural amenity for health and wellbeing.
“The EPA recognises that swimming is increasingly becoming a year-round activity and encourages the provision of information that will help winter swimmers to make informed choices to protect their health. The findings and outcome of the multi-stakeholder National Bathing Water Expert Group, due later this year, will provide important information in this regard and help identify potential options to better protect bathers who swim year-round.”
Throughout this summer, water quality information and details of any incidents affecting bathing waters will be displayed on the www.beaches.ie website.