Bathing water quality has continued to improve

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The Environmental Protection Agency’s latest report shows 97 per cent of the 148 identified bathing waters met or exceeded the minimum required standard.

115 bathing waters were deemed to be of Excellent quality, up 4 from 2020.

But 2 bathing waters were Poor, down 2. These were Front Strand Beach in Balbriggan and Lady’s Bay in Buncrana.

Agriculture, urban waste water and fouling from dogs on beaches all impacted on the quality of bathing waters, while Irish Water needs to improve the operation, management and maintenance of treatment plants and networks which impact on them.

The EPA says local authorities must prioritise steps to improve the two beaches of Poor quality, and to increase the number of bathing waters at Good or Excellent.

Lady’s Bay, Buncrana, Co. Donegal

Lady’s Bay was downgraded to poor in the report.

The main sources of pollution affecting the bathing water are cited as 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.