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Why you need to care about the water quality in Dublin

last edit: February 2021

picture by Maciej Aleksander Kedzierski | Instgram @studio81sport

Those two chimneys in the back are often shown as a symbol of Dublin, pretty much as the Samuel Beckett Bridge, the Spire, or Temple Bar.

They are the chimneys of a large installation called “the Ringsend wastewater treatment plant”.

Even though the quality of the water in Dublin is generally considered as good to excellent (feel free to take a look on and there should be no harm with bathing, it happens sometimes that the wastewater treatment plant gets drown and pours out some bad quality water directly into the sea.

In which circumstances you need to be on the look out for water quality?

Poor water quality very often happens after heavy rains and stormy weather and you will find article like this in the news:
Swimming ban at three beaches following overflow at Ringsend wastewater treatment plant
A swimming ban has been put in place at some major Dublin beaches
Swimming ban in place at Seapoint beach in south Dublin

That means there will be a ban in place.
However those bans are most of the time just recommendation, meaning that no one will be at the spot checking who’s taking a bath or who’s going kitesurfing. In the worst case scenario, maybe some barriers will be closed, like for example the barrier to access the wooden bridge of Bull Island, but this is very rare.

How to be informed

There is not one single source of truth to be informed about those bans, so I would suggest the following: when in the previous days the weather was extremely bad with a lot of rain, check online and on the kitesurfing groups if there is anything about a swimming ban due to poor water quality.

My personal experience

Sometimes when wind conditions were amazing, I went kitesurfing despite there was a ban in place, and I have never been sick or arrested by the Garda #thuglife 🤟
Experienced kitesurfers would nonetheless argue that if there is a ban you should do your best not to have your face even touching the water. If you’re able do that, that is great, but it is almost impossible to do a full session without at least once or twice falling into the water.

Picture by Briana Hegarty

See you at the beach!

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