WARNING signs placed at two West Cork beaches following an E.coli scare were finally removed today (Friday), almost a week after test results showed high levels of the bacteria in the water.
The beaches at Coolmaine, Kilbrittain and Garretstown, Kinsale are among seven in Cork that had a bathing ban imposed after samples showed levels of E.coli higher than EU safety rules.
A second round of testing carried out on Monday by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) showed that the beaches had returned within safe levels and further tests carried out on Wednesday showed a further improvement.
There were criticisms however of the time taken to declare the beaches open following the second round of testing.
Cork County Council published test results on Thursday morning showing all seven beaches were within the EU safety guidelines.
Despite this, agreement was not reached with the HSE to declare the beaches open until today (Friday) and the warning signs finally taken down.
Speaking to C103, Alan McEnery, manager of the Quality Hotel in Youghal where four beaches were affected said that the delay in reopening the beaches had created further, unnecessary bad publicity in what has already been a “very difficult” tourist season.
County Mayor Barbara Murray agreed, calling for better co-ordination between agencies in the future.
Under EU rules E.coli is limited is 2,000 particles per 100ml of water to be deemed safe for bathing.
It takes three-days from the test to get the results.
The results for Coolmaine showed a reading of 6,488 last Friday, 404 on Monday and 97 on Tuesday.
For Garretstown the readings were 2,909 last Friday, 30 on Monday and under 10 on Tuesday.
All seven beaches affected are now well below the EU limit with Coolmaine and Garretstown both classified as “good” for swimming.