Salgados Beach bathing ban due to sewage plant malfunction

salgados aerialPraia dos Salgados, between Armação de Pêra and Galé, in Albufeira has been closed to bathers due to too much shit in the water.

The Portuguese Environment Agency says there is ‘microbiological contamination’ and that "The beach is red-flagged and swimming has been banned by the health authorities."

According to Isabel Pires from the agency, the ban was imposed after an analysis revealed "a microbiological contamination, whose origin was detected in a pipe that flows into the Lagoa dos Salgados. This is a situation that the Câmara de Albufeira has said it will resolve."

"The Salgados lake is open to the sea, because the sand barrier did not build up naturally as happens every year," the APA claims.

According to Isabel Pires, the plan is to build a dam on Wednesday afternoon and that "the beach will only be reopened to bathers after the work is completed and new analysis is carried out to test the sanitary condition."

The ban was imposed on Tuesday, leaving bathers concerned and confused as no information was posted.

The Salgados lake is classified as a 'sensitive zone' according to the Urban Waste Water Directive, meaning that, since 1998, discharges of waste water have been treated.

Aguas de Algarve built a new treatment plant to the north of the lake. It appears that this system has failed to function correctly or has become overloaded and the excess quietly dumped into the lake, flowing onwards into the sea.

Banning bathing does serve to get those involved working quickly but simply blocking off the flow into the sea is a short-term solution, the problem needs to be addressed at source. Whether the public will be informed of the reason the untreated water was flowing into the lake, remains to be seen.

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