Our bathing water quality in Ireland is generally of a high standard – the most recent EPA report on Bathing Water Quality in Ireland for 2017 classed 93% of our designated coastal and lake beaches as meeting the minimum standard of sufficient water quality as defined under the Bathing Water Quality Regulations, and almost 85% classed as either ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. Bathing water quality is regulated under the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008, which transposed the EU Bathing Water Directive 2006/7/EC into Irish legislation.
However, I am concerned at the ongoing issues contributing to poor water quality at a small number of our many bathing waters. The Ailesbury Pumping Station, referred to by the Deputy, discharges to the Sandymount Strand bathing waters in the event of overflows following periods of heavy rainfall, and has been identified as a contributory factor in Sandymount Strand's 'poor' water quality designation in 2017. Sandymount Strand has continued to receive a ‘poor’ designation in 2018.
Dublin City Council has responsibility for bathing water quality in the area under the Regulations, and takes frequent samples which are published on the EPA’s beaches.ie website. Where ‘poor’ designations are received, Dublin City Council is responsible for putting in place a management plan to address the contributing pressures.
I view the bathing water quality issue at Sandymount with concern, in terms of safeguarding our natural amenities and human health. Discussions are ongoing at a senior technical level between my Department, Dublin City Council and the EPA in order to address this issue.
I also believe that upgrades to our waste water treatment infrastructure, including the Ringsend Waste Water Treatment Plant Upgrade and the Greater Dublin Drainage Project, will make a significant contribution to improved bathing water quality throughout Dublin.
The Deputy may also be interested in the 2017 EPA Bathing Water Quality in Ireland Report which includes a special chapter on the pressures on water quality in Dublin Bay. This report is available on the EPA's website at the following link: http://www.epa.ie/pubs/reports/water/bathing/bathingwaterqualityinireland2017.html.