05/04/2016

Six Beaches Fail To Meet Minimum EU Standards - EPA

Six Irish beaches have failed to meet minimum EU standards, according to the latest Water Quality Report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The coastal bathing waters were classified as being of 'Poor' quality.

Four of these (Youghal, Duncannon, Rush South beach, and Ballyloughane) had previously been classified as 'Poor' in 2014, yet had showed noticeable quality improvements in 2015.

The newly classified sites were Merrion Strand and Loughshinny.

However, three quarters of bathing waters continue to be of 'Excellent' quality for the second year running.

Overall, 128 out of 137 locations continue to be of a very high standard.

Dr Matt Crowe, Director of the EPA's Office of Evidence and Assessment, said: "Disappointingly, six bathing waters were classed as 'Poor' quality.  Four of these, Youghal Front Strand, Duncannon, Rush South beach, and Ballyloughane, were first classified as 'Poor' in 2014. All showed marked improvements in quality in 2015 but the 4 year assessment means their classification is influenced by poorer results from 2012-2014 bathing seasons."

Peter Webster, EPA Senior Scientific Officer, added: "The fact that any bathing water has been classified as 'Poor' means that there is a risk of periodic microbiological pollution. Under the Bathing Water Regulations, local authorities are required to put in place notifications for the entire bathing season advising the public against bathing which could include a bathing prohibition if a serious pollution incident occurs."

(LM)

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