Councillor claims ‘inaction’ led to poor water quality at Lady’s Bay in Buncrana

A Donegal County Councillor has said issues that led to water quality at Lady’s Bay in Buncrana deemed of ‘poor’ have been raised for years and ‘inaction’ means the area has ‘now become a national statistic’.

The front shore in Buncrana, Lady’s Bay, is one of just two beaches in the 26 counties where the bathing water quality was deemed to have been ‘poor’ last year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) annual report, which was published last week.

The report stated that waste water, stormwater and surface water run-off are to be blame for the quality deteriorating from sufficient in 2020 to poor in 2021.

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“Irish Water is due to begin upgrade works at Westbrook pumping station and the sewer network during the summer of 2022 and a new larger capacity storm tank is also due to be constructed at Buncrana waste water treatment plant,” the report states.

Water at Lady's Bay in Buncrana has been deemed 'poor quality' by the EPA.

Speaking at this week’s Inishowen Municipal District meeting, Fianna Fail Councillor Rena Donaghey said the date of these works keeps getting ‘pushed back and pushed back.’ She said the issues raised in the EPA report ‘are the very issues myself and Buncrana councillors have been harping on about for a long time, no longer ago than last Friday, in a meeting with Irish Water. Now, because of inaction, we have become a national statistic’.

Colr Donaghey said many people swim in Buncrana’s waters and ‘need clean and healthy water.’

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“I’ve been asking continuously to have the main sewer extended from Buncrana to Fahan and we are going to have serious problems until this is done, I am proposing this be prioritised in light of this new report. We already lost out Blue Flag at Lisfannon and this is the main reason, as we have no sewer from Fahan to Buncrana. We aren’t going to get that flag back until it is in place.”

Colr Donaghey proposed that a letter be sent to Irish Water from senior management of the council to highlight concerns.

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Matthew Byrne, Waste Management Officer, said the water quality going from sufficient to poor is a ‘very poor outcome’ and said the situation is one that has been raised ‘on numerous occasions.’ He thanked Colrs for raising it continuously in order to ‘expedite’ the matter and confirmed that sampling of the bathing water will begin next week, the results of which will be publicised. He added that signage has been erected advising people not to swim in the water, although they are nor prohibited from doing so.