Designated Bathing Waters - Donegal County Council

By: Donegal County Council Home  05/12/2011

Bathing Water Quality Regulation in Ireland

A new Bathing Water Directive came into force on 24 March 2006 and this will repeal the existing 1976 Directive with effect from 31 December 2014. The new Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) is concerned with the management of bathing water quality generally, with the exception of swimming pools, spa pools and waters used for therapeutic purposes. The Directive was transposed into Irish Law by the

. The 2006 Directive establishes a new classification system for bathing water quality based on four classifications "poor", "sufficient", "good" and "excellent" and generally requires that a classification of ‘sufficient’ be achieved by 2015 for all bathing waters.

Transitional measures are in place until the new Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (SI No. 79 of 2008), are fully implemented.

The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is coordinating the initial public participation process as part of the identification of Bathing Waters under the

and the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (SI No. 79 of 2008).

Designation of Bathing Areas

Under the old 1992 Regulations the Minister for the Environment, Heritage & Local Government has the power to designate bathing waters following assessment of a detailed submission from a Local Authority. Under the new Regulations, it is now the responsibility of the Local Authorities to identify Bathing Waters within their functional areas, by 24th March 2011 and annually thereafter by 24th March and to notify the EPA of the designated sites.

There are presently 19 designated bathing areas in Co. Donegal; Ballyhiernan, Bundoran, Carrickfinn, Culdaff, Downings, Drumnatinney, Fintra, Killahoey, Ladies Bay, Lisfannon, Marblehill, Murvagh, Portnoo, Port Arthur, Portnablagh, Portsalon, Rathmullan, Rossnowlagh and Shroove.

Public Participation

Donegal County Council, along with all 34 City and County Councils, is inviting public participation in the identification of Bathing Waters under the Bathing Waters Directive and the Bathing Water Quality Regulations 2008 (SI No 79 of 2008). The Directive requires that water quality at all designated bathing waters meet stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there.

The new Directive and Regulations require public participation in the identification process. This consultation process provides the public with an opportunity to: 

  • · comment on existing designated bathing waters with a view to continuation of designation 
  • · comment on other bathing waters not currently designated but which may be considered for designation.

Information on existing designated bathing waters is available on the

 and also on the


In making your submission in relation to the identification of bathing water sites, it might be helpful to consider the following factors, in addition to numbers using the site: 

  • · Past trends; 
  • · Infrastructure or facilities provided (including accessibility); 
  • · Safety considerations

Accordingly, Donegal County Council invites comments from interested parties in relation to the identification of Bathing Waters. Comments can be submitted as follows:

By post to:

Water Quality Section,
Donegal County Council,
The Kube,
Co. Donegal.

or by e-mail:

Please note that submissions received may also come under the provisions of the FOI Act.

Donegal County Council will then take due account of the submissions, in drawing up its list of bathing water sites.

The closing date for receipt of submissions is

Thursday 15th September 2011


Further Information

For information on existing designated bathing waters go to:

An Taisce’s beach awards site provides some useful information, and encourages you to complete a beach survey.

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