Bathing water quality
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Protecting our beaches
Bathing waters are an important amenity, valuable for both their tourism and recreational potential. It is important that they are afforded the , 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 directive was transposed into Irish Law by the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008. Under the 2008 regulations, local authorities are required to identify bathing waters. Bathing waters are defined as surface waters where a large number of people bathe and where there is no permanent bathing prohibition. We review this annually.
Current bathing areas in County Clare
- Cappagh, Kilrush
- Whitestrand, Doonbeg
- Spanish Point
- Whitestrand, Miltown Malbay
- Bishopsquarter, Ballyvaughan
- Mountshannon (Lough Derg)
- Ballycuggeran (Lough Derg)
- Ballyalla Lake
- Sealfield, Quilty
Have your say in identifying bathing waters
The regulations require public participation in the identification process. This consultation process provides you with an opportunity to:
- Comment on existing designated bathing waters with a view to continuation of designation
- Comment on other bathing waters not currently designated but which may be considered for designation
We are inviting comments from you in relation to the identification of bathing waters. You can submit comments throughout the year as follows:
- By post to: Environment Section, Clare County Council, Áras Contae an Chláir, New Road, Ennis, Co. Clare or
- By email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Criteria for identifying bathing waters
The term 'large numbers of bathers' is not defined by the directive but should be assessed in light of past trends at the site or of any infrastructure or facilities provided to promote bathing.
Generally, a 'large number of bathers' will be found at popular, well-used bathing waters and lakes where bathing is encouraged and facilities for bathers are provided. European law and practice has made it clear that the number of bathers is not the only relevant criterion for identifying bathing waters.
In making your submission in relation to the identification of bathing water sites, it might be helpful to consider the following factors, in addition to numbers using the site:
- Past trends
- Infrastructure or facilities provided (including accessibility)
- Safety considerations
What happens next?
We will take due account of your submissions in drawing up the list of bathing water sites.
The legislation requires the local authorities to develop 'profiles' for each of the designated sites. These are detailed descriptions of the bathing water sites, their characteristics and those of other surface waters within the catchment area, which could be a source of pollution. The profiles will include an assessment of the risk of pollution and the responses to be taken in the event of a pollution incident occurring.