E. coli scare beaches get the all clear
An E.Coli scare forced Wexford County Council to impose a temporary swimming ban at three popular beaches last weekend.
'No Swim' signs went up in Rosslare Strand, Carne beach and Cullenstown beach last Friday morning after test results showed elevated levels of E.Coli, the bacteria which can cause severe stomach infections.
The measure couldn't have come at a worse time - during a heatwave at the height of the tourist season when the beaches were packed.
It signalled a potential disaster for local businesses which are heavily reliant on summer trade.
The bathing ban was enforced after the Council received the results last Thursday of a water sample taken the previous Monday.
It showed breaches of the mandatory levels for E.Coli at Rosslare Strand which is a Blue Flag beach and also the bathing areas of Carne and Cullenstown.
Following consultation with the HSE, it was decided to post warning notices, in line with bathing water regulations.
Signs were erected at the main entrances and lifeguards at Rosslare flew red flags indicating that swimming was prohibited.
Water quality testing is carried out regularly by the Council at Wexford's main beaches.
This year, the results have been very good, giving no cause for concern up to now.
'Bathing water results fo the 2013 bathing season to date, have been excellent for the three beaches,' said Council Director of Services Eddie Taaffe.
Mr. Taaffe said on Friday that there was 'no obvious cause' for last week's poor water quality results at the three beaches.
'The Council's technical staff is currently investigating the matter,' he added.
Further water samples were taken on Friday morning with complete analysis expected to take a few days.
However, by Saturday, early test indications showed the E.Coli levels were safe again.
The Council decided to immediately act on these preliminary results and removed the bathing ban at 2.30 p.m. on Saturday, taking down the signs.
Businesses breathed a sigh of relief and it was safe to go back in the water again.