Northern Ireland beaches receive 100 per cent pass rate

Beaches in Northern Ireland have seen their highest recorded levels of water quality since bathing waters were first designated under the EC Bathing Water Directive in 1994.

All 23 of Northern Ireland’s identified bathing waters passed the EC Bathing Waters Directive mandatory standard for water quality in 2013.

Passing the mandatory standard means that all beaches were classified as having good water quality or better. 

Minister Durkan, Environment Minsiter for Northern Ireland said that NI Water had made significant improvements to the sewage treatment network and that this was “now paying off” in water quality results.

“My Department has worked closely with its partners through the Good Beach Summits to ensure that our bathing waters and the rivers which flow into them are adequately protected. A lot of work has been carried out particularly in catchments that have previously had poorer water quality,” he said.

The bathing water quality results have demonstrated an overall improvement in recent years. In 2012 only one beach failed to pass the mandatory standards in spite of it being the second wettest summer since 1912.

However, fewer beaches are likely to make the quality standards with the introduction of much stricter quality assessments set for 2015.

Through the implementation of the revised EC Bathing Water Directive, the standards will be approximately twice as strict.

The Northern Irish Department of Environment said:  “While bathing water quality is as good as it has ever been, when the tighter standards are applied, this will not appear to be the case.”