Galway City Council officials expect that the bathing water at Ballyloughane beach ‘will meet basic standard’ shortly.
A number of councillors expressed concerns about the area, but Galway City Council senior planner Carmel Kilcoyne is confident people will be able to swim in Ballyloughane in 2021.
“This year we are quite confident we are going to get Ballyloughane back for swimming - that it will meet that basic standard people are concerned about,” Ms Kilcoyne said.
“We should have four out of four beaches - our designated bathing areas - fit for swimming in Galway city. Two of them are reaching a very, very high standard.”
Ms Kilcoyne added that the City Council has been trying to solve problems with Ballyloughane beach.
“I know a question was actually asked about how do we get a basic standard for people to swim in Galway city,” Ms Kilcoyne commented.
“What I would say is we are far in excess of a basic standard in Galway city for three of our beaches. Two of our beaches are Blue Flag beaches - the water quality there has been excellent consistently for years.
“Blue Flag status in terms of the water quality - Salthill and Silver Strand. Grattan Road has reached the basic standard for people to swim in and there are no issues with swimming in Grattan Road. We have had issues with Ballyloughane, what we are trying to do is deal with those issues.”
The testing process which is carried out between June and September every year was explained by Ms Kilcoyne.
“To reassure everybody and it relates back to the Bathing Water Quality Regulations, 2008,” Ms Kilcoyne remarked. “This sets down exactly what we have to do in relation to making sure that the standards of our bathing waters meet specific standard.
“It tells us how often we have to sample, what we have to test for, how many times during the bathing season we have to test. What we do is from the start of the bathing season, from the beginning of June until September 15 we upload all of this information directly to the EPA.
“So when we get the samples in it goes straight up on to the EPA’s website. It is then published for everyone to see every week on beaches.ie - so everyone can see the quality of our water. The EPA then would take an average of all of those results over four years, that is what determines the standard of our water.”
Galway City Council works closely with the HSE. “Our contractor in relation to sampling with Galway City Council is actually the HSE,” Ms Kilcoyne said.
“We would work really closely with the HSE, who would take our samples and they also make sure everything is done properly and up to standard in terms of public health.”