The 2018 EPA Bathing Water report, published today, sets out bathing water quality during the long hot summer of 2018. Overall, 94 per cent of the 145 identified bathing waters met the minimum EU standards last year, with over 100 beaches classified as Excellent.
However the bathing waters described as poor quality include Clifden Beach in Co Galway.
145 bathing waters were identified in 2018, an increase of three since 2017. 94 per cent of identified bathing waters (137 of 145) met at least the minimum EU standards. 103 of 145 bathing waters were classified as Excellent. A further 22 were classified as Good and 12 were classified as Sufficient, meeting the mandatory requirement.
Five bathing waters were classified as Poor, down from seven in 2017. These include Clifden in Co Galway along with Lilliput in Co Westmeath and Sandymount Strand, Merrion Strand and Portrane (the Brook) Beach in Dublin.
Clifden has received a Poor classification for the past three years. According to Galway County Council, the main problems are the public sewer network and a storm water overflow at the Clifden wastewater treatment plant. Other potential sources of pollution include discharges from domestic and non-domestic septic tanks in the areas.
Galway County Council will continue to engage with Irish Water to help minimise leaks, spills or overflows of untreated sewage from the Clifden waterwater treatment plant. Irish Water also planning further rehabilitation works on the Clifden sewer network in 2019. Galway County Council will also continue to inspect septic tanks in the area and for any which are not operating correctly, will instruct owners to take specific action to fix them.
Improvements were made in three bathing waters previously classified as Poor, which included Ballyloughane near Galway City.
The majority of the bathing waters included in Co Mayo were described as Excellent, with Bertra Beach in Murrisk, Golden Strand on Achill Island and Old Head beach in Louisburg were classified as Good.
In Sligo the majority of beaches were described as Excellent or Good, with Mullaghmore Beach Sufficient.