The following motion was agreed
Motion: Councillor M. Baker
“That the Chief Executive put in place a year round sampling of water quality at our swimming locations and that the data be shared with the public.”
During the Bathing Season, which runs from 1st June until 15th September, sampling, testing and reporting of the bathing water quality at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s identified bathing waters is carried out in line with legislation from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008. There are also certain requirements from the Health Service Executive (HSE) that need to be adhered to. Bathing water quality results reported from the central
laboratory at Dublin City Council have to be reviewed in line with the Regulations and are then displayed on the dlr website, www.beaches.ie (through the EPA EDEN website), and also on the noticeboards at each of the identified bathing areas.
The erection, during the bathing season, of any of the EPA Notices such as Prior Warning Notices, Advisory Notices and Prohibition Notices cannot be carried out without Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) first getting approval of their recommendation from the HSE. Similarly, none of these Notices can be taken down without the prior approval of the HSE. Linked in with this process, are the requirements for the correct procedures with the Lifeguard Flag and the Blue Flag when EPA Notices are required to be erected or taken down. As a result, An Táisce
requirements also have to be followed with regard to the Blue Flag beaches / bathing areas.
During the bathing season, DLRCC take bathing water samples for testing,
monitoring and reporting every week, and twice a month outside of the bathing season, at the identified bathing waters. However, samples are also taken, at this same frequency, for testing at other non-identified areas that the public use for bathing. These are the areas listed in Schedule 2 of DLRCC’s Beach Bye-Laws 2012. These results are not reported on as they are not identified bathing areas and therefore, are not required to be reported under the current legislation. Also, sufficient resources would not be available for monitoring and reporting of these areas along with the current five identified bathing waters in the county.
As can be seen from the information above, sampling, testing and reporting of bathing water quality is a complex process that requires input from a number of Statutory Bodies. It requires a number of dedicated resources and time to carry out all the necessary requirements. The idea of implementing regular testing and reporting of water quality at DLR beaches and coastal bathing areas, throughout the full year, would need considerable thought before being agreed upon. The main
issues would include budget and resource inputs and how it can be dealt with correctly, outside of the bathing season, when the EPA legislation and HSE / An Táisce requirements are not in place.
To extend correctly regular sampling, testing and reporting of bathing water quality outside of the bathing season, would need input and guidance from the EPA, HSE and other relevant bodies. DLR are of the view that the development of a bathing water quality predictive modelling tool would be a better use of resources and expenditure and are already engaged in a process to implement such a model in conjunction with DCC & Irish Water. This model will initially focus on bathing areas at Seapoint, Sandycove and the Forty Foot and it is hoped that the model will be developed and tested for operation in the 2022 bathing season.
A commitment was made verbally at the meeting that the results of samples taken outside the bathing season, (two per month) would be made public.