A no-swimming notice has been placed on a second beach in South Kerry in just days. Both closures are due to recent extreme weather events in the area, it is believed.
Bathing in the sea on the village of Waterville beach was prohibited Kerry County Council and Irish Water after lightning struck a pumping station serving the town’s wastewater treatment plant on Sunday
The €18m Waterville 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 at its village beach as well as the overall cleanliness of the beach
However there was an overflow on Sunday after lightning struck the pumping station at Village Green and it was likely to have affected the bathing water quality, Irish Water said.
A bathing water notice is in place “as a precautionary measure”. That was lifted on Wednesday after tests gave the all-clear - but only to be replaced by a second notice at the nearby and more popular and larger Inny Beach, also in Waterville, his time at the request of the HSE.
"Routine testing" had found e-coli and other matter in the water.
High Rainfall on Sunday after the dry spell in south Kerry had washed bacteria down from the Inny valley – perhaps from slurry and other farm effluent, the council suspects.
However there has been no confirmation of this. In 2017 there was a similar event at Inny beach after a dry spell and this too led to the closure of the waters for some days.
The Inny River is an important fisheries also.
“Following routine testing of the bathing waters at Inny Beach, Waterville which detected elevated levels of bacteria in the water and further to advice from the HSE, Kerry County Council has arranged for a notice prohibiting swimming at this location to be erected at Inny Beach, “ the council spokesman said.
The prohibition results from high rainfall in the large Inny river catchment which has brought bacteria from the surrounding countryside into the bathing waters.
This is a common occurrence at times of high rainfall following a dry period.
The notice which is being erected in accordance with the council’s protocols under the Bathing Water Regulations will remain in place until further testing shows a reduction in the bacteria levels in the bathing waters.
“Further tests are being carried out and the situation is being closely monitored,” it said.
Separately, bathing water quality tests at Waterville Town Beach showed no elevated bacteria levels and the beach waters have reopened.