Bathing restrictions in place at award-winning Kerry beach after lightning strike at pumping station

Bathing restrictions in place at award-winning Kerry beach after lightning strike at pumping station
File photo

Bathing in the sea on Waterville Beach in South Kerry, an award-winning beach will remain closed until later this week after lightning struck a pumping station at the town’s waste water treatment plant.

The €18 million plant opened in 2013 after a decade-long campaign by locals and Waterville this year picked up a Green Coast award for the quality of its water and the overall cleanliness of its beach.

However, an overflow on Sunday after lightning struck a pumping station at Village Green may have affected the bathing water quality, Irish Water said.

A bathing water notice is in place “as a precautionary measure”.

“In all cases, Irish Water prioritise the health and safety of the public,” it said.

Crews gave been on the ground since the strike, maintaining the pump station and there have been no overflows from the pump station since the initial and limited overflow.

A repair of the pump station has now been complete, Irish Water said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Irish Water and Kerry County Council continue to closely monitor the operation of the pump station and work is continuing to lift the precautionary bathing water notice at this time.

It is expected the issue will be resolved later this week when bathing water quality testing is complete.

The one-off overflow occurred following a period of thunder and heavy rainfall that caused a power failure at the pump station, the water authority said.

Commenting, Irish Water expert & Regional Lead Maurice Hourigan, said, “Irish Water regrets this incident and any inconvenience it may have caused.

"We have repaired the pump station and are working with Kerry County Council to lift this notice as quickly as possible.

"Irish Water is investing an average of €326m per year on wastewater infrastructure to meet the size and scale of the challenge that faces us.”

Nearby blue flag beaches Ballinskelligs, Derrynane and White Strand are not affected.

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