Displaying items by tag: EPA
Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has noted with caution the findings from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) report on water quality in 2017.
While it welcomes the fact that the number of fish kills in Irish waters were at a historic low last year, IFI is calling for continued awareness of water quality issues in light of the EPA’s conclusion that water quality is once again in decline.
According to this latest report, there was 14 fish kills in 2017, affecting 7.8km of river with 2,123 dead fish recovered. This is significantly lower than the worst years of 1987 and 1989 when there were more than 100 fish kills reported.
IFI’s Environmental Officers carried out 26,000 environmental inspections last year across agricultural sites, habitats, industrial sites, wastewater and water treatment plants, civil engineering sites and forestry sites.
Despite the positive drop in serious pollution events causing fish mortalities, IFI remains concerned about the reduction of water quality, with the EPA reporting a 3% drop in river water quality since 2016 and a 0.6% loss in high-quality river sites.
The inland fisheries and sea angling resource contributes €836 million to the Irish economy every year and supports 11,000 jobs in rural communities.
“Ireland has some of the best wild fisheries in Europe and while water quality in Ireland still compares favourably with our European neighbours. The current decline is a source of concern as any impact on the quality of our waters can have a negative impact on the freshwater fisheries resource,” said IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne.
“Not only is the quality of our natural environment and aquatic habitat inextricably linked to the appeal of Ireland as an angling and holiday destination, it is also a very important source of wellbeing for our people.
“It is essential that we protect and conserve our freshwater assets, meaning our rivers and lakes. The long-term conservation of the resource requires maintenance of healthy and ecologically viable ecosystems.
“That means that we need to prioritise monitoring and protecting water quality as well as dealing with other issues such as removing fish migration barriers, improving practices which cause physical changes to fisheries habitat, dealing with changes in water quantity and controlling the spread of invasive species,” Dr Byrne added.
#CoastalNotes - Seven beaches in Dublin and Galway have failed to meet the EU’s minimum standards for bathing water quality.
That’s according to the latest Bathing Water Quality in Ireland report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which identifies Sandymount and Merrion Strands, Loughshinny, Portrane and Rush South in Co Dublin, as well as Ballyloughane in Galway city and Clifden in the west of the county, as problem areas.
Three of the Dublin beaches are repeat offenders, with Merrion and Loughshinny marked as ‘poor’ in the previous two reports, while Portrane was listed among 2016’s worst bathing spots.
Galway fares a little better in 2017’s report, with Trá na bhForbacha upgraded to ‘vulnerable’ — though it, along with Clifden and Ballyloughane, remains at the mercy of pollution from runoff, septic discharges and the like.
Pollution events were also up in 2017, with 163 incident notices issues by local authorities — almost double the total recorded the previous year. Twelve of these notices resulted in bathing restrictions at Merrion and Sandymount Strands alone.
On a more positive note, 93% or 132 of the 142 bathing areas surveyed for the 2017 report meet the EU minimum for swimming water quality.
Nationally, bathing water standards are on par with last year’s report, which found almost three-quarters of Irish swimming spots met the EU’s strict bar for ‘excellent’ water quality.
The full EPA report is available to read or download HERE.
#CoastalNotes - Three beaches in Dublin and three in Galway have failed to meet the minimum standards for bathing water quality, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Irish Times covers the latest EPA Report on Bathing Water Quality, which listed repeat offenders Ballyloughane in Co Galway and Dublin’s Merrion Strand and Loughshinny, along with Portrane in North Co Dublin and Galway’s Clifden and Trá na bhForbacha as beaches especially vulnerable to pollution.
Youghal’s front strand, Duncannon in Wexford and the south beach at Rush in Co Dublin, which were listed as ‘poor’ in last year’s report, showed enough improvement in their bathing water quality to be classified as ‘sufficient’.
RTÉ News has details of the environmental agency’s 2015 Urban Waste Water Treatment Report, which identifies 43 urban areas — 29 of them classed as large towns or cities – that continue to release raw sewage into the sea and rivers across Ireland.
A number of these locations have seen their timetable for tackling such discharges slip by almost two years due to lack of sufficient capital investment, which the EPA decries as “unacceptable”.
In locations such as Youghal and Merrion Strand, the release of untreated waste has been linked to a significant lowering of bathing water quality.
The news is little different from almost three years ago, when the EPA identified the likes of Killybegs in Co Donegal and Cork Harbour as black spots for untreated wastewater.
More recently, Housing Minister Simon Coveney promised that the problem of discharges from a number of communities around Cork Harbour would be solved within the next 18 months, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.
#BathingQuality - Six Irish coastal beaches – half of them in the Greater Dublin Area – fall short of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) minimum required standard for water quality.
Rush's south beach and Loughshinny in north Co Dublin joined Merrion Strand in south Dublin, Youghal's front strand in Co Cork, Duncannon in Wexford and Ballyloughane in Co Galway in the list of bathing areas classed as being of 'Poor' quality in the EPA's Bathing Water Quality in Ireland report for 2015.
The EPA explains that the 'Poor' class, which averages data collected between 2012 and 2015, reflects bathing areas that "may be subject to more frequent, or more significant, pollution events" often impacted by "nearby sewage discharges, most commonly as a result of heavy rainfall".
All six beaches on the current 'Poor' list showed improvement in the last year, recording a number of 'Excellent' scores in 2015, but pollution concerns remain.
And in the case of Merrion Strand, bird droppings from seagulls congregating in the area are a serious issue, as they carry as much as 10 times the bacteria of human waste.
Overall, bathing quality in Irish waters remains "very high", according to the report, with just over 93% of sites meeting the minimum EU standards.
Three-quarters of these – 101 of the 137 areas monitored - were classed as being 'Excellent', with the counties of Clare, Kerry, Leitrim and Louth standing apart with unblemished records for their bathing quality.
The complete EPA bathing water quality report is available to read or download HERE.
#DublinPort - More details have been requested by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as it assesses Dublin Port's plans to dump 10 million tonnes of "seabed material" in the Irish Sea off Howth.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Dublin Port wants to dredge its navigation channel as part of its bid to attract next-generation cruise liners that rivals Dun Laoghaire's own controversial cruise berth plans.
Both projects have prompted concern over the effects of such large-scale dredging and dumping operations in Dublin Bay, an area only designated this past summer as a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
And as The Irish Times reports, the EPA has received 700 submissions on Dublin Port's application alone, with local residents, divers, the fishing industry and conservationists united in their opposition.
Now the EPA has requested a full environmental impact assessment under the EU habitats directive, as well as a revised Natura impact statement, before it further consider's the port company's proposals.
The Irish Times has much more on the story HERE.
#clarebeaches – A newly published report by the EPA on Bathing Water Quality around Ireland has found that County Clare's 11 designated bathing areas were adjudged to have "Excellent Water Quality" during 2014.
The marine environment news has been described as "hugely significant and positive news" by Clare County Council in light of the newly introduced EU standards for bathing areas, deemed by the EPA to be almost twice as strict as those applied in previous years.
Bathing waters were classified into four categories, namely 'Poor', 'Sufficient', 'Good' and the newly introduced 'Excellent' category. The classification system is based on the levels of E. Coli and intestinal enterococci detected in the bathing water during the 2014 bathing season.
Clare is one of five Local Authority areas to receive "Excellent" classifications for each of its bathing areas, the others being Dun Laoghaire Rathdown, Kerry, Leitrim and Louth.
Clare's 11 bathing areas are Ballyalla Lake (Ennis), White Strand (Milltown Malbay), Ballycuggeran (Lough Derg), Cappa Pier (Kilrush), Bishopsquarter, White Strand (Doonbeg), Kilkee, Spanish Point, Lahinch, Fanore and Mountshannon (Lough Derg).
"This is a magnificent achievement for County Clare and those who work throughout the year to safeguard our bathing areas from environmental pollution and to ensure that the public can enjoy these locations in the knowledge that they are bathing in clean waters," stated Councillor John Crowe, Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council.
He added: "This clean sweep for Clare is something that all tourism interests in the County should be aware of as we must now promote our quality beaches and other bathing locations, particularly in light of the growing numbers of visitors arriving in Clare during their journey along the Wild Atlantic Way."
"I wish to pay tribute to the Environment Section of Clare County Council and those living and working in the vicinity of Clare's 11 bathing locations for their due diligence and hard work in delivering this result. It's one that benefits our County's reputation and of course, the environment," said Councillor Crowe.
"The Council is delighted that each of the 11 designated bathing areas that it monitors achieved 'Excellent' status. This achievement is notable in light of the considerable disruption caused to many locations during the storms of early 2014, as well as the newly introduced standards for assessing bathing areas which are almost twice as strict as those previously applied. Our goal now is to maintain these high standards throughout 2015," explained Paul Moroney Senior Engineer, Clare County Council:
Commenting on the bathing water quality results, Dr Matthew Crowe, Director of the EPA's Office of Environmental Assessment, said: "Overall, the quality of Ireland's bathing waters continues to be very good and new standards introduced in 2014 provide a much higher level of protection for bathers."
"Disappointingly, seven identified bathing waters have been assessed as being of poor quality. The relevant local authorities and Irish Water have put management plans in place to tackle the main pollution risks at these beaches. The test will be whether or not we see the necessary improvements in water quality at these beaches," added Dr. Crowe.
The summary report 'Bathing Water Quality in Ireland – A Report for the Year 2014' is available to download from www.epa.ie.
#CoastalNotes - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) insists there was "nothing underhand" about its amendments to a 2007 licence for Shell's gas terminal at Bellanaboy in Co Mayo.
The Irish Times has a report on Tuesday's opening remarks of a three-day action at the Commercial Court, where it was alleged that the EPA intended to amend an earlier licence for the facility despite a more recent one being quashed by the High Court over environmental concerns.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, local man Martin Harrington had claimed the EPA failed to carry out a proper Environmental Impact Assessment of the north-west Mayo region to meet EU requirements.
The outcome of that case last October was hailed as a victory for the long-time campaign against the controversial Corrib Gas Project.
Harrington's latest action is a judicial review challenge aimed at quashing the amendments to the 2007 licence. The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.
#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 Afloat.ie, 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.
Energy Minister Eamon Ryan will issue a decision "in the coming weeks" on Shell Ireland's plans to complete the Corrib gas pipeline, The Irish Times reports.
The news follows yesterday's ruling by An Bord Pleanála which approved revised plans final section of the controversial pipeline.
Shell also requires licencing from Minsiter for the Environment John Gormley and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the completion of the pipeline under the conservation area of Sruwaddacon esturary to Shell's Ballinaboy gas terminal.
It would be a further two years before the pipeline is fully operational.
An Bord Pleanála's Inspector Martin Nolan commented that the "clarity and transparency" of Shell's revised application gave "confidence that the safety of the public is fully protected".
However planning was only approved with 58 conditions related to the construction and management of the 8.3km pipeline - including extra security at the landfall valve at Glengad, which has raised the ire of local residents at last year's oral hearings.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.