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Dublin: 15°C Friday 24 September 2021

Balbriggan beach closed after raw sewage overflow

A malfunction at a local pump station due to power failures caused the overflows.

File photo of Balbriggan Beach
File photo of Balbriggan Beach
Image: informatique via Flickr/Creative Commons

FINGAL COUNTY COUNCIL has closed Balbriggan Beach to the public because raw sewage has been discharged into the sea there.

A malfunction at the Isaac’s Bower Pump Station at the beginning of the week, along with heavy rain, caused an overflow of sewage which led to the discharge. A further failure in an alarm and back-up system meant that the council were unaware of the leak for some days.

A member of the public eventually tipped off authorities after spotting raw sewage washed up on the beach at lunchtime on Tuesday. An environmental health officer from Fingal County Council immediately closed the area to the public and ordered a greater inspection.

Lar Spain, a senior engineer at the council, said power interruptions due to bad weather in the Skerries and Balbriggan area on Monday and Tuesday caused the pumps at wastewater pumping stations at Rush Road and Isaac’s Bower to stop working.

Rush Road’s station was out for just under two hours but the pumps at Isaac’s Bower failed for more than 26 hours.

The power interruptions at Isaacs Bower also caused an item of electrical control equipment to fail which meant that an alarm signal could not be transmitted. During this time there was extensive heavy rain in the area adding to the volume of water being carried in our drainage network and the consequent overflow volume coming from the pumping station.

The pumping station overflowed a further two times on Wednesday, once in the early hours of the morning and again just before midday as a result of a blockage.

The council is certain that the overflow has now stopped and the contractor is on site repairing the pumps. No further overflows are expected.

Inspections have also been carried out in Skerries and Barnageeragh but beaches there remain open. Water quality samples have also been taken with results expected later today. A clean-up has started at Balbriggan and the beach remains closed to swimmers.

The council has apologised to users of the beach and other citizens for the inconvenience caused.

See the full statement from Fingal County Council>

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