herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Swimmers banned from beauty spots after sewage washes up on city beaches

Sandymount beach
Sandymount beach

Two of Dublin's most popular beauty spots are closed to swimmers for the rest of the weekend following a sewage spillage after heavy rainfall.

Dublin City Council confirmed the temporary closure of the bathing areas of Dollymount Strand and Sandymount Strand yesterday.

A spokesperson for the council said that, after intense rainfall on Thursday evening, sewage spilled into the River Liffey and flowed to Sandymount Beach.

"Based on experience of similar past events, a precautionary bathing prohibition has been put in place," said the spokesperson.

The Herald has learned that the council is unsure how long the bathing ban will be in place for but has taken water samples.

Kitesurfers at Dollymount Strand
Kitesurfers at Dollymount Strand

Emergency

Results of the tests will be available on Monday and the council will release an updated notice.

It is possible the ban could be extended if the water quality is deemed to have been contaminated by the sewage spillage.

It is bad news for swimmers with temperatures set to rise to 20C today.

This is not the first time sewage has caused the closure of bathing areas at Sandymount.

In July 2014, sewage spilled onto the strand and contaminated the water, putting the beach off-limits to swimmers. This was again the result of heavy rainfall.

An emergency overflow facility in the local drainage network was activated, which caused the flow of sewage to the beach.

More recently, there was another bathing prohibition put in place at Sandymount Strand in August last year.

A spokesperson said that when there is heavy rainfall the drains can fill to capacity and rain begins to enter the sewage system, which unfortunately also gets washed out into the sea.

Labour councillor Dermot Lacey said that Sandymount Beach should be of "high priority" and more needs to be done to prevent further incidents.

"Every effort should be made to ensure these things don't happen," he told the Herald.

"Sandymount is a great beach in the middle of the city and should get a high priority treatment in my view, and it is not getting that high priority treatment. It is getting better but it needs to be improved and improved a lot.

"It is such a good facility and we should be putting money into it."

Cllr Lacey also recognised that this will be a blow to those wanting to enjoy the sunny spells today.

"Those kinds of things shouldn't be allowed happen in a place like Sandymount Strand. A lot of attention should be put on ensuring these things don't happen in that area," he said.

"It is a free recreational area for Dubliners and we should be looking after it better."

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