Ennell water quality improvement down to 'hard work'

The improvement in water quality at Lough Ennell and subsequent lifting of the bathing ban at Lilliput is the result of “hard work”, a council official has said.

Earlier this month, the EPA announced that the three year bathing ban at Lilliput is to be lifted for the coming season starting on June 1 due to the improvement in water quality at Lough Ennell. The ban was introduced after the water quality at the popular bathing spot failed to meet minimum EU standards at periods in 2018, 2019 and 2020 due to pollution from agricultural run off.

In a statement issued to the Westmeath Examiner, council official Jonathan Deane said the local authority is “delighted,that through the hard work of our public sector colleagues in the HSE public health office, IFI, EPA, Lawpro and Teagasc, as well as a number of community based organisations in the farming, fishing, business and environmental sectors, we have been able to collectively achieve a significant improvement in water quality at Lough Ennell”.

“The water quality was excellent throughout 2021 and we are hopeful that we can maintain that trend in 2022. Indeed, we have just got back results for the first test cycle of 2022 this morning and the water quality was returned as ‘excellent’.

“However, as a precaution, we have been directed by the EPA to issue public warnings, which we will do via our Facebook and twitter feeds, if there is a yellow or more severe rain warning issued buy Met Eireann for the midlands, as heavy rain can lead to wash out of nutrients from farmland bordering the lake,” he said.

Mr Deane said that work to improve the water quality at Lough Ennell will continue throughout 2022.

The council is hosting a public meeting on June 13 in the Bloomfield House Hotel to identify future catchment management strategies at the lake.