Irish sea swimmers could soon benefit from water quality testing all year round.

Scientists in DCU have developed a tool that would allow bathing waters to be tested for bacteria such as e-coli rapidly and regularly.

It comes amid a surge in sea swimming in popular bathing spots such as Salthill in Galway and the Forty Foot in Dublin.

At present, there’s only a requirement to monitor water quality during the bathing season – from June to mid-September.

While some local authorities continue testing throughout the year, there are concerns that less regular testing during ‘off season’ can leave people vulnerable to bacteria when swimming off-season – especially now that many people go swimming no matter what the weather.

The Bathing Water Expert Group is currently investigating the ‘national appetite’ for increased testing and resources to facilitate year-round swimming, the Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien has confirmed.

Fiona Regan – Professor in Chemistry at DCU and director of the university’s Water Institute – told The Pat Kenny Show they’ve developed a tool that could help increase testing.

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