Saturday 18 January 2020

Swimmers are banned from top Dublin beaches in sewage spill

Seapoint Beach is among those where bathing has been banned for seven days
Seapoint Beach is among those where bathing has been banned for seven days

Some of Dublin's most popular beaches have been closed to swimmers after an overflow of sewage. It happened at Ringsend waste water treatment plant during the recent yellow weather warning.

The spill prompted Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to impose a seven-day bathing ban on all its beaches, starting yesterday.


Beaches affected include Seapoint, Sandycove, the Forty Foot, Killiney and White Rock.

All areas along the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown coastline, whether designated as bathing areas or not, are covered by the notice.

"It is HSE advice that aside from bathers and beach users, any organisers of any coastline or water-based leisure or sporting event along the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown coastline should pay particular attention to this notification," a council spokesperson said.

The council said the public would be kept up to date on its website, social media and beaches.ie.

Last year it was revealed that three out of five of the lowest-rated water-quality beaches in Ireland are in Dublin.

The Bathing Water Quality 2018 report found the Dublin beaches which ranked as 'poor' are Merrion Strand, Sandymount Strand and the Brook Beach in Portrane. Merrion Strand has been found to have poor water quality for the last four years.

The report found that quality was impacted at both Merrion Strand and Sandymount Strand as they have streams flowing on to them.

Some of the streams have been found to contain "leaks, spills and overflows from waste water collection systems and runoff from roads", the report published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found.

Brook Beach in Portrane has been classified 'poor' for the last three years, the main cause of pollution believed to be "septic tank discharges, birds, dog fouling and leaks, spills and overflows from sewers".

A 'poor' rating means the water has not met minimum standards and bathing restrictions should be put in place at the beach as well.

On RTE's Morning Ireland last month, Andy Fanning, programme manager of the EPA's Office of Evidence and Assessment, said the agency needed to see work intensify in some areas.


"Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown and Dublin City Council are carrying out surveys into the bathing waters, but from an EPA perspective we need to see the work really intensifying," he said.

"There has been a number of years where these beaches have failed.

"We're delighted to see those comebacks, and it shows you can make improvements where you do this work."

The report also found that urban waste water, such as run-off rainwater and domestic waste water, is the most common source of pollution in bathing water.

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