Q. What is going on here!

These are the Pictures we donít want to Publish!

In recent weeks Lough Allen has had unusually low water levels, low rainfall, strong southerly winds... and has been beset by unsightly pollution on the north and east shores.

There is some evidence that natural factors have been added to by polluting agents. Some of these images are from areas people use for swimming and recreation. This foam may not be toxic, is definitely not purely natural, and is very unsightly. We are very anxious to try and identify the problem... all help very welcome!

If you have come across this page (and it is unlinked) it should be because we have given you the link. We would ask you to respect our confidentiality for the time being in the interest of resolving this problem. (Please donít pass on this link without consulting us.)

UPDATE: We have added further Photos to this discreet page. We have checked for likely sources for this effluent/enrichment but have been unsuccessful to date. All we can say is that it is persistent; the white foam has been building up over 3 years. In our experience it was unusal to see this on the shores of Lough Allen before 2008. It seems to be increasing steadily and cumulatively implying that there is a source of continual poullution entering the Lake. There are some indications that the pollution is spreading from the south. The Shannon and Diffagher Rivers have been checked for obvious signs of foam pollution, and seem clear. Belhavel Lough (the source of the Diffagher) has also been visited during recent hot weather and is in pristine condition. We have also heard reports from the Owengar and Arigna Rivers.



2nd April 2011... ongoing.

(30th April 2011)  West shore, Srabragan and Holly Island

(28th April 2011) Shoreline just north of Cormongan

(19th April 2011) Mid Lake Pollution and Algal Bloom

(2nd April 2011) Shoreline Photos


West Shore with Easterly wind.

We are anxious to try and find a source of this effluent. It is persistent, has been building up slowly for the past 3 years, and has Ďexplodedí this Spring. It has the potential to seriously disimprove the Lake, its suitability for swimming, and could possibly harm rare and protected species. This foam clearly contains phosphate. This is a nutrient. Orchids are plants of poor soils. Enrich the soil and they may be killed. These 3 photographs were taken on the afternoon of the 30th April during a period of unusual, very persistent and quite strong easterly winds, which are still continuing. We have never before seen significant pollution of this type on the west shore because the winds are normally away from this side of the Lake. Foam is normally present right down into Mahanagh at the southern end of the Lake and has been seen here when the wind is in itís normal direction (south west). This, and the shelter provided by the promontories of Inishfail, Holly Island and Derrintober would seem to point to an origin in the Drumshanbo area. Consequently, when the easterly winds started, we looked on the west shore of these areas and found these samples!




Shoreline just north of Cormongan

Taken early on the morning of 28th April, these photographs were a big disappointment. A bautiful calm sunny day with initlally no sign of the dreaded foam. It lifted our spirits. But then we noticed a new facet to this on-going pollution... heavy deposits (actually forming stalactites) under the boulders. These photos show the typical fine dusty yellowish appearance of this material typical of the pattern being found all around the Lake. Pollution now has 3 tangible forms. 1) a very bright white persistent foam. 2) Scum and Algal bloom in the centre of the Lake. 3) Deposits all along the shore where our valuable species such as Sandpipers, Mergansers, and Spiranthes occupy.



Photos taken from boat roughly half way between Cormongan and Arigna Power point.

These photos were taken on 19th April. We were traversing from Cormongan to Arigna (roughly on the 16th parallel). We were heading over to search for Mergansers and came upon this pollution unexpectedly. As can be seen from the photos there was a calm stream in the middle of the lake with slighly ruffled water on either side. Wind was northerly, a reversal from previous days. The stream of pollution extended for a considerable distance right up the lenth of this calm water. A very visible algal bloom was associated with the effluent, though this was hard to capture on many of the photographs. Photographs were taken between points G 96453 15719 and G 96543 16039 with an accuracy of 3 metres. Pollution extended north and south of these points but we were unable to survey further.











Photos taken between Kilgarriff and Corry Strand, north Lough Allen, 2nd April 2011