Thursday 29 September 2016

Bad news for bathers as four Dublin beaches close due to 'disastrous' pollution

Catherine Devine

Published 05/06/2016 | 13:32

Rush Harbour
Rush Harbour

Four beaches along the north of Dublin have been closed due to “disastrous” levels of pollution.

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Fingal Mayor David O’Connor said that there’s a “major problem” with sewage pumps in the area which has led to the closure of the beaches.

Beaches in Rush, Balbriggan, Skerries and Loughshinny have been closed for 72 hours as water quality deteriorated due to “suspected sewage discharge from waste water treatment”.

Garry O’Brien from the Environment Department of Fingal County Council issued a warning to local councillors about the beach closures.

“Pumps at the foul sewer pumping station at Hampton Cove Balbriggan failed on Saturday June 4 and the pump station has been on overflow for a period of time.  This action is being taken to ensure we are not compromising the human health of bathers,” he said.

He also said that after routine inspections at Loughshinny Beach and Rush North Beach they were closed as a “significant amount of deleterious matter including rags, sanitary towels etc washed up on both beaches”.

“It’s a major bummer for the beaches to be closed on a bank holiday,” Cllr O’Connor told independent.ie.

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Local Councillor JP Browne said that the sewerage problems have been affecting the north of the county for some time.

“Almost 70pc of raw sewage in Rush is pumped into the ocean,” he said.

“Fingal County Council and Irish Water are working together to solve the problem.”

He said that works are expected to be completed by 2018 and that options include connecting the Rush sewage station to the one in Donabate or increasing the sewage capacity at Rush.

He said it’s a “real shame” for the beaches to be closed during the bank holiday.

“I was at the south strand beach in Skerries yesterday with my six-year-old daughter and the beach was packed.”

He said the pollution wasn’t visible but warned that there are high levels of bacteria in the water.

This year Portrane beach lost its Blue Flag and Skerries lost its flag the year before. The Blue Flag is awarded in recognition of high standards at Irish beaches and marina.

“It’s very disappointing and will have a huge affect on Fingal’s tourism. The Skerries beach was internationally recognised. The pollution is a black mark against us.”

He said there’s no doubt that the Skerries water festival and the Rush Harbour festival will be affected by the pollution.

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