Lack of sewage plant in Youghal blamed for E.coli
It will be revealed this morning whether seven Cork beaches closed to swimming because of E.coli will reopen. The results of tests taken on Monday were due to be revealed yesterday evening but problems at the lab mean they will be revealed this morning.
A spokesperson for Cork County Council said that there had been “technical difficulties” with the incubators used to grow the bacteria for testing. The affected beaches are Youghal, Claycastle, Redbarn, Coolmaine, Garretstown, Oysterhaven and Garryvoe.
Several of the beaches carry EU ‘Blue Flags’ for the excellence of their water quality.
A hotel manager in Youghal has hit out at the delay in getting the test results. “It’s an absolute disgrace,” Alan McHenry, manager of the Quality Hotel Youghal said.
“It’s been sampled regularly but the County Council seem to be confident that the sample will come back safe, which means people could have been swimming there for the last three days.
“The length of time it has taken to turn around these samples beggars belief,” he said.
E.coli is contained in excrement and can cause serious illness and potentially, death.
Youghal has been particularly badly affected with three beaches in the area closed to swimmers. Youghal’s Front Strand, Claycastle and Redbarn all recorded high levels of the bacteria.
The Quality Hotel Youghal is situated in front of Redbarn beach and they have been affected, according to Mr McHenry.
“We have had some cancellations. Because we have a lot of repeat visitors, we did accept cancellations. Many people came and we put on extra activities for kids. The feedback has been very good.
“E.coli aside, it’s been a very tough summer. People are looking at the weather week to week,” he said.
While July didn’t perform well, he is delighted with the numbers in August. .
The high amounts of rainfall washing slurry off the land has been blamed for the problem, as well as a combination of southerly winds and spring tides which have kept the pollution inshore.
There is no sewage treatment plant in Youghal, which has made the situation worse as raw sewage pumped into the bay was unable to leave it.
Fianna Fáil Cllr and Mayor of Bandon, Gillian Coughlan expressed her concern at the situation. “The Minister for the Environment needs to take action quickly and work with Cork County Council, the HSE, An Tasice and the EPA to ascertain the causes of the presence of E.coli.
“Both West and East Cork depend a lot on its tourist season, a huge part of this are the pristine beaches that attract so many visitors from both here and abroad,” she said.
It is hoped that work will start on a €20m sewage treatment plant for Youghal next November. Further tests of the water quality were taken on Tuesday, so the beaches may be open for the weekend, even if the samples from Monday are still considered dangerous.
Bathing water results can be found this morning on www.bathingwater.ie