| 17.3°C Dublin

Beach shut by sewage spill given the all-clear

A DUBLIN beach which had raw sewage pumped into it for 26 hours has reopened after the water was declared clean.

Balbriggan Beach in North Co Dublin was shut off to swimmers on Tuesday after the pollution was discovered by a member of the public.

But it has now been declared safe for swimming again by Fingal County Council.

The local authority said tests found E.coli levels of 100 units per 100 millilitres, which were well within the 250 unit limit for Blue Flag beaches.

Earlier in the week, E.coli readings of 10,000 units per 100ml were recorded after raw sewage flowed into the sea for more than a day.

The council believes heavy rain caused an electrical fault to both a pumping station and an alarm system, which should have raised the alert but did not.

The alarm was raised when disgusting waste was seen washing back to shore in the tide.

Fingal immediately closed the strand to swimmers while it waited on water-quality results from Balbriggan and also the nearby beaches at Barnageeragh and Skerries.

The member of the public saw "detritus" washing up on the beach, Fingal's Lar Spain revealed.

The local authority said the discharges happened as a result of power interruptions caused by bad weather in the Skerries and Balbriggan area.

The outages meant that sewage pumping stations in the two localities failed.

Power interruptions on Monday and Tuesday caused the pumps at the Isaac's Bower station -- which services all of Balbriggan -- to fail.

The equipment was not working from shortly before 1pm on Monday to 3.30pm on Tuesday.

The Rush Road pumping station, serving Skerries, also shut down for two-hours on Tuesday.

Mr Spain said a back-up alarm system failed as well, meaning that the council and its contractor were not notified when the pumps failed.