Raw sewage being pumped into popular beach

BATHERS at one of the country’s most popular beaches are swimming in water into which raw sewage is being pumped, an environmental group said yesterday.

An Taisce is furious after it emerged waste from the seaside resort of Tramore in Co Waterford is being pumped into the sea even as the tide comes in. It wants immediate steps taken to ensure waste is only released as the tide goes out.

A group walking the beach last Sunday was horrified to find sewage being pumped into the sea as the tide was coming in and bathers were in the water.

“We were walking along the beach when this geyser began making noise behind us. When we looked round, we found to our horror that sewage was being pumped into the sea as bathers were in the water and the tide was coming in,” said An Taisce president Frank Corcoran.

“We want a commitment that the local authority will not pump into the water on an incoming tide. This situation is not acceptable.”

Gabriel Hynes, a senior engineer with Waterford County Council, said the situation was not ideal but the water was safe to bathe in. He added that a E21 million improvement programme for the area is already underway.

“You’d want to store about 100,000 gallons to avoid pumping into the sea as the tide comes in. It’s not practical, economical or feasible to store it.

“We are analysing the water on a fortnightly basis and it complies with EU and Irish standards. We are satisfied that the bathing water in Tramore is safe. We have a system in place in Tramore since the 1960s with a downfall pipe which discharges into an area below the bathing area.

“We are getting natural dispersion from that. It’s not an ideal situation, but the bathing water is safe.

“We are endeavouring to get the best bathing quality water possible for Tramore and that is why we have a E21 million scheme in place. One contract has already been awarded and the second contract, to build a treatment plant, is ready to start this year,” he said.

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