Do you know the 5 reasons why seawater testing is vital in Ireland?
- Ensure public safety: Public health risks are one of the main consequences of completing regular seawater testing. This can lead to increased cases of gastrointestinal, respiratory, or skin infections among the public.
- Monitoring the ocean’s health is important for maintaining the ecosystems and keeping marine life safe. In Ireland we pride ourselves in our beautiful shores and our flourishing fishing industry with the total value of Irish seafood economy in 2020 estimated to be just under €1.1billion.
- Compliance with the EU regulations on seawater quality. Seawater testing is used to assess salinity which is the measure of salt content, pH level which assess the acidity or alkalinity of the seawater, and the nutrient levels.
- Identifying sources of pollution. Without testing, pollution can go unnoticed and have adverse effects on marine ecosystems and the overall environment. Increased rainfall, which is common in Ireland, can cause increased run off into the ocean, and additionally the impact of human activities which cause pollution can be assessed.
- Assessing climate change by analysing seawater levels and temperature. This information allows professionals to make informed decisions on the impact of climate change of the local seawaters.
What is seawater testing?
Seawater testing is a crucial process that helps monitor the quality and safety of the water along Ireland’s coast.
The water sample is collected and sent to our laboratory where it is tested using spectrophotometry for quality checks. Chromatography is used for pollutant checks such as pesticides and hydrocarbons, and microbiological tests to indicate the presence of human sewage.
Following these extensive tests, Southern Scientific provides a comprehensive report on the results of the seawater samples to our customers.
Who performs this seawater testing?
Government agencies, researchers and public health officials, a wide range of professionals rely on accurate and timely sea water testing results. Agencies such as the EPA, HSE and local authorities work to monitor Irish seawater safety to keep the public safe. Industry that seeks to have a license for the discharge of treated wastewater into the sea must have continuous sampling and testing carried out. EU Regulation Compliance, IPPC License discharge, license application and compliance are the main reasons why we are asked to monitor sea water.
The natural, clean water around its 7,500km of coastline of Ireland was tested with 79% of seawater bathing sites having ‘Excellent’ water quality while 97% meet the minimum standard.
The EPA specifically mentions two beaches, Portrane, the Brook Beach in Dublin, and Trá na bhForbacha, Na Forbacha in Galway, whose quality has increased in recent years from Poor to Excellent.
But, did you know that 1.5% of Europe’s bathing water is considered poor quality as assessed by the EEA 2022.
How can you ensure the seawater in your area is safe?