Water quality tests will boost campaign to reopen Corbally baths

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Deputy Kieran O’Donnell with Mark Dempsey and John Ryan of Limerick Narwhals at Corbally Baths

Limerick City and County Council have appointed BHP Laboratories to undertake extensive additional sampling at 15 locations to identify the cause of poor water quality at Corbally Baths.

The sampling forms part of an overall Strategic Assessment of Storm and Surface Water Collection Networks being carried out by JBA Consultants which includes a process for the reopening of the popular swimming spot.

BHP starting the sampling process last Monday and it will be undertaken on a fortnightly basis over the next three months at 15 locations identified by the Limerick City Narwhals swimming club.

Limerick Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, who has been involved in the campaign to reopen the Corbally Baths, said that monitoring of the water quality in the area showed a significant deterioration after the first flush of rainfall events. This raised concerns over the possible risk from cross-connections and Combined Sewer Overflow in the catchment area.

“It is hoped that the outcome of the sampling will allow the Council to pinpoint the possible sources of contamination and to recommend appropriate action to rectify the situation. This marks another important step forward in the process of reviving the Baths which generations of Limerick people have enjoyed over the years,” Deputy O’Donnell explained.

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“If more specific sampling is required to establish sources, this will be reviewed during the three month sampling period. Once the Council have the initial rounds of sampling results back from BHP, they will review the situation with Limerick Narwhals.

“Last February, JBA Consulting were appointed to carry out a technical assessment of the current situation at Corbally baths and advise on costed feasible remedial solutions. This is currently underway with a draft report due in March.

“I was approached by Limerick Narwhals in 2019 to help revive the Christmas Day swim tradition at Corbally Baths as well as restoring the Baths themselves as a public amenity.

“There is an overwhelming positive public response in Limerick for the return of the baths as a public swimming amenity and a landmark attraction for recreation which is so important in these times.

“Before anything is considered around the restoration of the Corbally baths itself, consultation with local residents on the Mill road and community groups must be the first priority,” Deputy O’Donnell added.