“High levels” of a bacteria that can cause gut inflammation and blood infection have been detected at Havre des Pas and the Dicq after foul-smelling sewage spilled out of the pumping station during Sunday’s storm.
In a statement, government officials warned swimmers to stay away from the area over the next 24 hours, while lifeguards will be closing the Lido bathing pool for at least two tidal cycles, due to the presence of E.coli and Enterococci.
A local dogwalker, who was among the first to raise the alarm the alarm about the spill but did not wish to be named, described the scene around the Dicq this morning as "absolutely disgusting".
She told Express of foul-smelling sewage and unpleasant items, such as women's sanitary products, being strewn across the beach as a result of the leakage from the pumping station there.
Pictured: Foul-smelling sewage on the Dicq beach this morning.
While she was happy that the detritus was soon removed by Growth, Housing and Environment (GHE) officials, she said she was shocked that no signage was subsequently put up to warn islanders of the remaining public health risk – particularly as the area is frequented by dogs and young children.
"I find it disappointing and potentially negligent for the States of Jersey not to warn the public with notices on the slip when there has been an incident like this, that there may be sewage or other substances on the beach, and ask the public to take extra care and be vigilant. This way people can then make the decision on whether or not they want to use the beach and if they do take appropriate steps to protect their children or animals. That would seem to be a pretty reasonable and simple step to take."
Asked by Express what had caused the problem, government officials replied that the "sewage spill" at 02:30 this morning (Monday) was the result of "very high storm flows".
"Le Dicq pumping station has a large portion of the town combined sewer system connected to it. This combined system contains both foul sewage and surface water. When it rains heavily the surface water can overload the network," they said.
Pictured: The Lido will remain closed to bathers for the next 24 hours.
They added that while the sewage systems do have "defences to cope with excess water in times of high rainfall", it is not "economically feasible to design for all extreme circumstances", leading spillages to sometimes occur.
"Very high storm flows are not uncommon in any sewer network, and our sewage systems can usually cope with most weather. All systems are designed to spill to prevent any backing up or flooding in extreme conditions."
They assured, however, that the sewer waste left on the beach was cleaned up by lunchtime.
However, when asked whether there the outflow posed a health threat to the public, the spokesperson told Express: "There's the potential for the water quality to equate to 'poor', and results after last night's storm show high levels of E.coli and enterococci. The advice is to not swim in the area for a couple of tidal cycles."
E.coli can cause diarrhea, pneumonia and urinary tract infections, and, in extreme circumstances, lead to acute kidney failure.
Enterococci, meanwhile, can cause inflammation and blood infection if it enters the body, such as via an injury.
The government has now issued a warning for islanders to stay away over the next 24 hours, adding that lifeguards will be closing the Havre des Pas bathing pool for at least two tidal cycles.
Pictured top: A tampon applicator was one of the many unpleasant items left strewn across the beach due to the sewer spill.
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