Waterford News

Waterford Council refuses to rule out use of much-criticised chlorine near popular beaches

Waterford Council refuses to rule out use of much-criticised chlorine near popular beaches
Dunmore East. WikiCommons

With additional reporting by Jayde Maher 

Waterford City and County Council says they will reassess their use of bleach to sanitise streams near beaches in Dunmore East, but cannot rule it out altogether.

The local authority has been using a diluted disinfectant to treat two streams in the area since 1988.

The council previously revealed that they were doing it in order to prevent children who play in the water from contracting an illness.


Coast Watch Ireland has criticised this practice saying that it could lead to the destruction of flora and fauna living by or in the streams.

According to the council's Director of Services for the Environment, Fergus Galvin, the chlorine used is driven off the water very quickly and by the time it reaches the beach, there is so little of the chemical left in the water that it would have "no impact and no measurable amount of chlorine entering the seawater, and certainly no impact on the aquatic marine life within Dunmore East Bay."

However, he has told WLR News that the council will be exploring all of its options and has to gather more data to try and identify the source of the problem.

The topography and the increase in population during the summer months are among some of the issues that affect water quality.


Mr Galvin says the issue in Dunmore East is not straightforward for many reasons and the council needs to gather further data about the issue with water quality in the streams.

"We need to build up a foundation as to when this is happening, take some samples at different points up along the streams that are in close proximity to the potential source of pollution", Fergus said.

Waterford Council hasn't ruled out treating the two streams with chlorine next summer to reduce the risk to public health from the water quality which flows onto the Strand.

Fergus says they will be reviewing any action they may take ahead of next summer: "Basically, we're going to have to re-evaluate it next spring, as we approach the Summer bathing season, and review whatever data we've collected at that stage.


We'll see if we can either reduce the level of micro-dosing of chlorine that does take place there or do we take another view on it," he said.

It's understood Coast Watch Ireland will be working with the Council to help to determine the source of the pollution, while also exploring different ways to clean the stream.