Bathing Waters are an important amenity, valuable for both their tourism and recreational potential. It is important that they are afforded the appropriate protections in accordance with legislation, including the European Union's Bathing Waters Directive. The Directive requires that water quality at all designated bathing waters meets stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there.
The Bathing Waters Directive (2006/7/EC) is concerned with the management of bathing water quality generally, with the exception of swimming pools, spa pools and waters used for therapeutic purposes.
Article 1.3 of the Directive states that it applies to: "Any element of surface water where the competent authority expects a large number of people to bathe and has not imposed a permanent bathing prohibition, or issued permanent advice against bathing". This Directive came into force on 24 March 2006 and will repeal the existing 1976 Directive with effect from 31 December 2014.
The Directive was transposed into Irish Law by the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (S.I. No. 79 of 2008). The 2006 Directive establishes a new classification system for bathing water quality based on four classifications "poor", "sufficient", "good" and "excellent" and generally requires that a classification of ‘sufficient’ be achieved by 2015 for all bathing waters. Transitional measures are in place until the new Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (SI No. 79 of 2008), are fully implemented.
The quality of bathing water in Ireland for 2014 (EPA Bathing Water Quality Report 2014), was generally of a high standard with 94.1 per cent of bathing waters (128 of 136 identified bathing waters) complying with the EU mandatory values and achieving at least ‘sufficient’ water quality status. In CountyMeath there is one designated bathing water, Laytown-Bettystown and it was been classed at good status. Water quality at Laytown-Bettystown will be monitored throughout the bathing water season (1st June – 15th September). Results will be posted on http://splash.epa.ie.
PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE IDENTICATION OF ‘BATHING WATERS’ UNDER THE BATHING WATERS DIRECTIVE 2006/7 EC OF 15TH FEBRUARY 2006 AND THE BATHING WATER QUALITY REGULATIONS SI 79 OF 2008
All 31 city and county councils are inviting public participation in the identification of Bathing Waters under the Bathing Waters Directive and the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (SI No 79 of 2008).
The Directive requires that water quality at all identified bathing waters meets stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there. City and county councils are required under the 2008 Regulations to identify bathing waters on an annual basis.
This consultation process provides the public with an opportunity to:
- comment on existing identified bathing waters with a view to continuation of classification,
- comment on other bathing waters not currently identified but which may be considered for classification.
Comments are invited from interested parties.
This should be done through your local city council or county council in whose area the bathing water is located. Contact information for all 31 city and county councils can be found on the following website: http://www.lgma.ie/en/irish-local-government
Please contact your local city or county council for information on the criteria to be used.
Closing date for submissions to your city council or county council is 28 July 2016.