Local authorities must identify official bathing areas in their area every year so that they can be monitored for safety, water quality and their level of use. To help with this process, Wicklow County Council are asking people who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to tell them if they think they should maintain existing designated bathing waters designations or give a new official bathing area designation to areas that are commonly used for swimming, but not identified at the moment.
Under European and Irish law, Irish local authorities must identify bathing waters each year so that these areas can be monitored to ensure they meet stringent microbiological water quality standards. In some cases, the official bathing areas are also the areas where local authorities focus their resources providing lifeguards during the summer season. These laws also require that the local authority prepares detailed descriptions or profiles for each of the identified bathing water sites that describe not just the bathing area but also areas in the surface waters catchment area that could be a source of pollution. The profiles include an assessment the risk of pollution and what action would be taken if pollution occurs. The profiles can be viewed at www.beaches.ie
There are six bathing waters identified under the Bathing Water Regulations 2008. These are Bray South Promenade, Greystones South Beach, Silver Strand Beach, Brittas Bay North Beach, Brittas Bay South Beach and Clogga Beach.
The Council also monitors nine other waters used in the County namely; South of Bray Harbour, The Cove Greystones, Kilcoole Beach, The Murrough Wicklow, Wicklow Harbour Bathing Area, Wicklow Harbour Lifeboat/Sailing Club Area, Arklow South Beach and The Cove Arklow.
The bathing water quality results and annual classification of bathing waters can be viewed at www.beaches.ie . The latest available EPA report Bathing Water in Ireland Report 2021 can be viewed here. https://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/bathing
If you are a regular swimmer and want to help your Council decide which bathing areas should be classified as such, it might be helpful to consider the following:
· How your swimming area has been used up to now;
· How many people use the site;
· What facilities exist at the site and how accessible it is;
· Any safety issues.
The Environmental Protection Agency has provided public advise on the identification of new bathing waters which you will find here https://www.beaches.ie/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Public-Advice-Identifying-Bathing-Waters If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river etc as a new bathing water site or comment on an existing site then please complete the submission form here or send your submission by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Michael McNamara, Administrative Officer, Planning, Development and Environment, Wicklow County Council, County Buildings, Station Road, Wicklow Tel 0404-20236.
Closing date for submissions has been extended to Wicklow County Council is 30th June 2022.
For further information
Please contact Michael McNamara, Administrative Officer, Planning, Development and Environment, Wicklow County Council, County Buildings, Station Road, Wicklow, Tel 0404-20236 or email email@example.com