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Public Participation: Identification of Bathing Waters 2024

Local Authorities must identify 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 with this process, Westmeath County Council are asking people, who swim at beaches or lakes or rivers to tell the Council 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 or bathing, but not identified at the moment.

Under European and Irish law, Irish local authorities 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 local authorities focus their resources by providing lifeguards during the summer season.  These laws also require that the local authority prepares detailed descriptions or profiles for each of the identified 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 if pollution occurs.

If you are a regular swimmer and want to help your Council decide which bathing areas should be classified as such, 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.

You should also refer to the EPA document Public Advice on the identification of Bathing Waters before making your submission.  Applications for the identification of a new bathing area must be submitted on Form Annex 1- Application for identification of a new bathing area included in EPA document.

If you wish to propose your favourite beach/river etc as a new bathing water site or comment on an existing site, please contact Westmeath Council at bathingwaters@westmeathcoco.ie

Closing date for submissions to Westmeath County Council is 26/9/2024

For further information please contact bathingwaters@westmeathcoco.ie  or visit  www.westmeathcoco.ie

Content Last Updated/Reviewed: 08/05/2024