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Ireland's Waters Meet Minimum Standards But Many Lose Top Ranking

2nd May 2013
Ireland's Waters Meet Minimum Standards But Many Lose Top Ranking

#CoastalNotes - More than 97% of Ireland's bathing areas meet the EU's minimum standards for water quality in new figures announced today 2 May - though 21 waters have been stripped of the top ranking.

The latest figures for 2012 were released today in a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose director general Laura Burke said that the "quality of Ireland's bathing waters remained very high despite remarkably wet summer weather in 2012".

As reported last year on, water runoff from heavy summer flooding led to elevated levels of E.coli in many coastal areas, causing the temporary closure of beaches in Cork, Galway and North Dublin.

It's this rise in levels of harmful bacteria above mandatory EU safety levels that resulted in the poor performance of some perennial bathing favourites in the 2012 figures, as The Irish Times reports.

The number of beaches meeting the EU's stricter 'good' bathing quality standards fell from 112 in 2011 to 91 waters last year.

EPA senior scientific officer Peter Webster told The Irish Times that the fall "is disappointing but I'm surprised it was not more".

And despite the drop, three local authorities - Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Sligo and Leitrim - managed to achieved 'good' status for all of their designated bathing areas.

The worst performing beaches were Clifden in Galway, Fountainstown in Cork, Ballyheigue in Kerry and Rush in North Dublin, all of which were ranked as 'poor' for water quality.

Remedial water treatment works are planned for Clifden, while it's reported that no cause was found for a single "uncharacteristically high" sample taken from Ballyheigue.

Published in Coastal Notes
MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy

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MacDara Conroy is a contributor covering all things on the water, from boating and wildlife to science and business

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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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