Salthill swimmers, and the area’s reputation as a holiday destination, could be seriously impacted, if instances of sewage seeping into the water at Salthill’s beaches is not given a “deep investigation”.
This is the view of the Fianna Fáíl Galway City West councillor, John Connolly, who is calling on the Galway City Council to investigate an incident he hsa described as being of “significant concern”.
Over the Bank Holiday Weekend, Cllr Connolly, was contacted by a member of Galway’s regular sea swimmers, who reported a film of scum on the surface of the water at Ladies Beach, Salthill, which, on closer inspection, was revealed to contain faecal material.
According to Cllr Connolly, the swimmer ascertained that the source of the discharge could be located and traced back to a slick around the area of Palmer’s Rock. It is understood other swimmers have reported similar incidents in the Salthill area over recent days.
Cllr Connolly, who is also a regular swimmer, reported the matter to the council’s water services department.
“Any suggestion the wastewater system is malfunctioning in this area could have a very detrimental impact on the reputation of Salthill as a bathing location and holiday destination,” Cllr Connolly wrote to the water department. “Furthermore, a failure to investigate could potentially lead to poor water quality testing results when the season’s testing regime begins and jeopardise the area’s blue flag.”
]Cllr Connolly raises the issue of water testing saying such tests need to be carried out earlier, with a focus towards the run up to summer, instead of the June period when they are normally carried out.
“The council might begin testing the water in the Salthill area now to assure swimmers of the present water quality,” he wrote. He has also placed a motion on the council agenda calling on the Department of Local Government to increase the testing regime outside the current testing period.
The council’s water department replied to Cllr Connolly, and said the local authority had investigated the claim but found “could not see any evidence at that time”. However, the department has raised the issue with the environment department.