Water quality high at local bathing sites - EPA

The water quality at Westmeath's designated bathing spots is high, according to the EPA's Bathing Water Quality in Ireland Report for 2022.

The annual report on the water quality at Ireland's 148 designated bathing sites found that the water quality at both The Cut at Lough Lene and Portnashangan at Lough Owel is "excellent", while the water at Lilliput at Lough Ennell was deemed "good".

The water quality at Lilliput had been classified as ‘Poor’ during 2018, 2019 and 2020, but in the last three years, the water quality has improved significantly due to actions being taken in the surrounding catchment.

Bathing Waters are classified based on a statistical assessment of monitoring data over a four-year period.

Overall, the report found that the bathing water quality at Ireland's bathing sites remains high, with 97 per cent (144 out of 148) sites meeting or exceeding the minimum required standard. Of these, 117 bathing sites (79 per cent) had excellent water quality which is an increase from 115 in the previous year.

Commenting on the report, Dr Eimear Cotter, Director of the Office of Evidence and Assessment, said:

"The on-going improvement in our bathing waters is very welcome and shows that good management of our bathing areas can give a high level of health protection for swimmers and other water users.  Year-round swimming continues to be popular and the EPA looks forward to the outcome of the work, led by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, which is investigating how to protect bathers' health year-round.

"Unfortunately, there were no new bathing waters identified in 2022. The EPA urges local authorities to designate more official bathing sites to protect swimmers’ health, which includes designating the large number of beaches and popular swimming spots that they monitor but which haven’t been formally identified as bathing waters."

The EPA advise that swimmers check www.beaches.ie and the signage at the beach for the latest water quality information for their local bathing site.