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Title: Achieving EU Standards in Recreational Waters
Authors: Bruen, M P
Crowther, J
Kay, D
Masterson, B F
O'Connor, P E
Thorp, M B
Wyer, M D
Keywords: INTERREG
Issue Date: Nov-2001
Publisher: Marine Institute
Citation: Bruen, M. P., Crowther, J., Kay, D., Masterson, B. F., O’Connor, P. E., Thorp, M. B. & Wyer, M. D., "Achieving EU Standards in Recreational Waters", Maritime Ireland/Wales INTERREG Report, Marine Institute 2001
Series/Report no.: Maritime Ireland/Wales INTERREG Report;6
Abstract: In the interest of public health and amenity, the quality of bathing waters is controlled by the European Union Bathing Water Directive (1976); the well-known Blue Flag scheme is associated with this. The Directive regulates — among other parameters — the numbers of “indicator bacteria” permitted in the water; these microorganisms themselves are not an apparently significant risk to health, but they act as indicators that sewage-derived pathogenic organisms that cause illness may be present. Coastal and freshwater bathing areas are monitored regularly during the bathing season for compliance with the Directive, and the published annual reports attract much public and news-media attention. Substantial high-cost improvements to sewerage management infrastructure have been made by Local Authorities both in Ireland and Wales aimed at achieving better compliance with bathing water standards. Nevertheless, there have been continuing episodic failures to meet the indicator-bacteria standards. Recent research in the United Kingdom has indicated that substantial quantities of the offending indicator bacteria may be conveyed in surface water runoff from the catchments of rivers and small streams in response to rainfall events. There have been indications too that the use to which land in a catchment is put (pasture, forestry, urban, and so on) is reflected in the levels of indicator bacteria contributed by the land to water. Two principal questions arise: 1. Are failures to meet microbial water-quality standards for bathing areas due to rainfall-related runoff from adjacent catchments? 2. If so, is this effect related to land uses in the catchments? This report gives an account of work addressing these issues conducted in the Afon Rheidol and Afon Ystwyth catchments in north Ceredigion, Wales and in the Dargle catchment in north Co. Wicklow, Ireland. The catchments in both areas drain to the sea through harbour outlets close to bathing beaches, and the beaches have had imperfect compliance with the Bathing Water Directive in the past.
ISSN: 1393-9025
Appears in Collections:EU Collaborative Research

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