Thousands of people have been enjoying a dip at Ireland’s pristine lakes, rivers and beaches during the recent sunny weather.
What most swimmers don’t know is that City and County Councils must designate 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, Leitrim County Council is now asking people who swim at beaches, lakes and rivers to tell them if they think they should maintain existing designated bathing waters designations or give a new official bathing area designation to areas that are commonly used for swimming but not designated at the moment.
Under European and Irish law, City and County Councils must identify bathing waters each year so that 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 Council’s 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 designated bathing water sites 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 the risk of pollution and what action would be taken in pollution happens.
If you are a regular swimmer and want to help your Council decide which bathing areas should be designated for 2015.
It might be helpful to consider the following:
- How your swimming area has been used up to now;
- How many people use the site;
- What facilities exist at the site and how accessible it is
- Any safety issues
If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river etc as a new bathing water site or comment on an existing site please contact the Water Safety Officer, Leitrim County Council, Aras an Chontae, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim at 071 9620005 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Closing date for submissions to Leitrim County Council is 29th July 2014.