independent

Saturday 17 November 2018

Swimmers defy Council bathing ban in Rosslare

Maria Pepper

Regular swimmers opted to defy a Council bathing ban at Rosslare Strand, one of Wexford's prized Blue Flag beaches, which was closed four days due to the presence of bacteria caused by a suspected sewage leak and then given the all-clear and re-opened on Monday.

The 'No Swim' notice was imposed last Thursday on the stretch of beach from the Burrow to the village as the local authority carried out further monitoring and tests.

However, people continued to take the plunge over the weekend despite clear warning signs in the area which advised; 'Swimming in this water may cause illness'.

The Council signs said bathing was prohibited due to 'a high level of bacteria' with possible sewage contamination a likely cause and announced that the the expected duration of the ban was unknown.

Rosslare Tidy Towns treasurer Ray Flynn said locals were 'extremely worried' because the Blue Flag status of the beach is very important to the holiday resort.

He said everyone was hoping it was a temporary blip and many people continued to swim despite the ban.

'My understanding is that the readings were perfect right up to the end of August and then one of them went awry.'

'We had a very dry summner and then we had some rain and you can have grease flowing out of storm drains and causing contamination', he said.

'The water in Rosslare is tested regularly and the levels have been absolutely perfect since the start of the year', said Ray.

'There was no problem last year and none the year before. Everyone had their fingers crossed that it would be sorted out quickly so that everything could return to normal', he added.

One of those who continued to swim in the sea over the weekend after the ban was imposed is well-known Rosslare hotelier Bill Kelly of Kelly's resort hotel.

'I swam there this morning and over the weekend and I'm fine', he declared on Monday. 'I swim for a half and hour every morning at 6 am. I haven't missed a day since the beginning of the summer'.

Mr. Kelly said he had been keen to see the warning signs lifted as 'No Swim' notices are very bad for the area at any time of the year.

'You're talking about a very small sample, one small measurement of one moment in time and the sample may have been taken several days before the signs are put up', he said.

A Council spokesman said the notice was put in place as a precautionary measure following routine testing at Rosslare Beach which showed 'slightly elevated levels of microbiological contamination'. 'I can advise that following further sampling, the usual excellent water quality standard prevails once more and the 'No Swim' notice has been rescinded', the spokesman confirmed on Monday afternoon.

Wexford People

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