AS Kilkee approaches its busiest time of the year, a swimming ban has yet again been imposed on the An Taisce Blue Flag beach.
This closure is due to sewage entering the water on Wednesday, which followed an electrical fault at the pumping station.
Swimming was prohibited for five months from mid-December 2016 to mid-May, following the failure of an operational safety device at the pumping station during a period of heavy rainfall shortly before Christmas, which resulted in sewage entering the water.
On Wednesday afternoon, Irish Water issued an apology for the latest fault with the pumping station and said that the swimming ban would be in place for a number of days.
“Due to operational electrical issues at Kilkee pump station earlier this morning, this caused the pumps to be out of service for a number of hours. This has led to a discharge of wastewater to the Victoria stream in Kilkee for a period of time.
“The HSE and the EPA have been notified and a precautionary bathing prohibition notice has been put in place by the HSE for Kilkee beach, to protect public health,” the statement from Irish Water read.
“The pumping station resumed operations at 11am approximately on Wednesday but the bathing water restriction is likely to be in place for a number of days, as testing of the water over a 48-hour period will be required, to confirm that it meets all bathing water quality standards. Irish Water apologies to customers and local beach users and thanks them for their patience and co-operation as we work to resolve this issue,” the statement added.
Elaine Haugh, president of Kilkee Chamber, said the imposition of a swimming ban in the last week in July is a significant issue for business people in the town.
“This is the worst time in the world that anything like this could happen. This is the six-week prime time period for us but I have to say that Clare County Council are on top of their game and, communication-wise, they are excellent,” the former Kilkee town councillor said.
“It’s a huge concern but we hope that it will be rectified as soon as possible. If we have it sorted by Friday, that would be great. We don’t envisage that this will last for more than a day or two, if everything goes according to plan,” Ms Haugh added.
By Peter O’Connell