Sewage Discharge onto Sandymount Beach Unacceptable

by Karl Anderson

Residents of Sandymount and Merrion have again voiced their opposition to the regular discharge of raw sewage onto Sandymount Beach by Uisce Éireann (Irish Water). The most recent discharge was on 11th May. The sewage discharge occurs 10 and 12 times a year after heavy rain falls flood local drains. To avoid homes in the area being flooded, the sewage is diverted to the beach.

David Turner, Chair of the Sandymount and Merrion Residents’ Association (SAMRA) regularly witnesses the huge volumes of raw sewage, which included sanitary waste and faeces and condoms, being poured onto the beach. “It is disgusting to see it happening on our doorstep. We have been highlighting it for years. We understand the need to protect homes, but solving one problem by creating another makes no sense. This problem can easily be fixed by proper engineering,” he said.

David said that Uisce Éireann is responsible for the pollution, and it must immediately put in place a solution. “At the moment it seems like Uisce Éireann is giving local residents the two fingers – it doesn’t seem to be taking any responsibility for its pollution of the beach. People are walking on the beach and there are dogs running around in the sewage. They are going to carry all sorts of hazardous materials on their feet and into their homes. When the sewage looks like it has dried up, kids can be seen busy in the area with buckets and spades. There are no warning signs. There is zero excuse for no signs and the immediate installation of barriers around the polluted area when there is a sewage discharge to protect people. It’s shameful that Uisce Éireann should think it’s acceptable to create acute health risks for locals and visitors to the beach.”

“If a commercial company was polluting like this it would be closed down immediately,” he said.

SAMRA has contacted all local public representatives and reflected the anger of local residents. It has also written to the CEOs of Uisce Éireann, Dublin City Council, and the Environmental Protection Agency. SAMRA said there was no evidence that any solution was being developed by Uisce Éireann to stop the regular discharges. It also said that there was no plan in place to ensure that the sewage would be cleaned up as soon as possible after each discharge. “We find Uisce Éireann’s practice to be absolutely unacceptable and we are asking that it undertake urgent action to make sure it stops.

“There is no excuse that will be acceptable for this matter not being addressed with the utmost urgency,”
David said. He said that this was yet another reason why a Task Force needs to be established to oversee and deliver essential works in the area in a joined-up way. SAMRA has been calling for a Task Force to be established to co-ordinate the major works planned for the beach front area for the past two years.