SIX Irish beaches have failed to meet the minimum required standard for bathing after bacteria and septic tank discharges were found in the water.
Bathing areas in Ireland are currently classified in one of four categories – Excellent, Good, Sufficient or Poor. The mandatory requirement is for Sufficient quality.
The bathing season in Ireland runs from June 1 until September 15.
The six beaches, across counties Dublin and Galway, were marked poor by the Environmental Protection Agency in Ireland in their 2016 bathing water report.
Merrion Strand, Loughshinny Beach and Portrane Beach in Dublin had issues with drainage from local areas, as well as sewage and septic tank discharges.
In Galway, Clifden beach, Trá na bhForacha and Ballyloughane also had issues with sewage and septic tank discharges.
The EPA also found traces of E.coli on the poor-rated beaches.
If bathing water has been classified as Poor it means that there is a risk of periodic microbiological pollution which could potentially cause illness such as skin rashes or stomach upset.
Under the Bathing Water Regulations, local authorities are required to put in place notifications for the entire bathing season advising the public against bathing.
While six beaches failed to make the grade, three quarters of Irish bathing waters are of Excellent quality for the third year in a row.
A further 18 beaches were classified as Good while 10 bathing areas were classified as being of ‘Sufficient’ water quality but ‘remain at risk of episodic pollution events.”
At the launch of the Bathing Water report, Peter Webster, EPA Senior Scientific Officer said: “Ireland has no shortage of beaches around our coast with excellent water quality.”