Sandymount Strand stench caused by algae not sewage, Irish Water says

Local residents complaining about ‘foul odour’ told it comes from Ectocarpus

Irish Water has said foul smelling matter on Sandymount Strand is a rotting form of algae. Photograph: Laura Hutton

Irish Water has said foul smelling matter on Sandymount Strand is a rotting form of algae. Photograph: Laura Hutton

 

Irish Water has said that foul-smelling matter on Sandymount Strand in Dublin, often mistaken for sewage, is in fact a rotting form of algae.

Residents living near the beach had recently complained about a “foul odour” and what was said to be “acres of brown sewage” floating in the water and landing on the shore.

However, an Irish Water spokesman said there were no reports of sewage discharges or overflows in Sandymount in the last week and that the problem was caused by “naturally occurring” algae called Ectocarpus, which grow out at sea and are washed in on the tide.

‘No evidence’

He said an inspection was carried out at Sandymount Strand, between the Martello Tower and St Alban’s Park exit, last week and that Irish Water had confirmed there “wasn’t a wastewater issue”.

“There was no evidence of combined sewer overflows or foul detritus observed and there were no storm water overflows from Ringsend Wastewater Treatment plant,” he added.

Dublin City Council also noted the presence of the Ectocarpus. The material is “commonly mistaken for sewage” due to its colour, texture and malodour upon decay, a spokesman said.

Information on the material’s life cycle and stages of decay, as well as guidance on its removal, are included in a bulletin published on the Dublin City Council website.