Northern Ireland’s bathing water commended

Northern Ireland continues to have some of the best bathing water quality in Europe as all 23 beaches have met the new stricter European standards for bathing water quality.

The European Commission’s Bathing water Directive came into full effect in 2015 and introduced standards for bacteria in water that is approximately twice as stringent as its predecessor. It introduced four standards: excellent, good, sufficient and poor. Compliance with these standards is calculated on bathing water quality data over four years.

14 of Northern Ireland’s 23 bathing waters were classed as having ‘excellent’ water quality, after meeting the highest EU water standard while a further seven were classed as ‘good’ and two as sufficient. None of Northern Ireland’s bathing waters were classed as having poor water quality.

Speaking about the findings, Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan MLA praised the North’s beaches for once again being amongst the best in Europe. The Minister also signalled out Carnlough for special praise. Carnlough’s bathing waters failed to meet the less stringent 2014 standards (largely due to incidents of flooding) but did meet the new tighter 2015 standards, a fact he claimed was “particularly pleasing.”

Despite this good work, the Minister warned against future complacency and stated his belief that through continued joined up working between stakeholders and local government the water quality of Northern Ireland’s bathing waters will, where possible, improve further.

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