Tens of thousands of people enjoy a dip at Ireland's pristine lakes, rivers and beaches during the summer seasons. What most swimmers do not know is that City and County Councils' 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 them with this process, Fingal County Council is now asking people who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to tell them if they think the existing bathing waters designations should be maintained or give a new official bathing area designation to areas that are commonly used for swimming and are not designated now.
Under European and Irish law, City and County Councils must identify bathing waters each year so 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 councils focus their resources providing lifeguards during the summer season. These laws also require that the Council prepares detailed descriptions or profiles for each of the identified bathing waters 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 of the risk of pollution and what action would be taken if pollution happens.
If you are a regular swimmer and want to help Fingal County Council decide which bathing areas should be identified for season 2022, it may be helpful to consider the following:
- How your swimming area has been used up to now?
- How many people use the site?
- What facilities (e.g. signage, parking, toilets, picnic area etc) exist at the site and how accessible it is?
- Any safety issues?
You may also refer to the EPA document Public Advice on the Identification of New Bathing Waters.
If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river etc as a new bathing water site or comment on an existing site, please make your submission through the consultation portal https://consult.fingal.ie/en/consultation/public-consultation-identific….
Alternatively, please post your written submission to:
Operations Department (Bathing Waters), Fingal County Council, Grove Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.
Closing date for submissions is Wednesday 17th June 2021.