Spain holiday warning for Brits as popular beaches closed and red flags issued

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The Alicante beach has been shut down (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Alicante beach has been shut down (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A pair of popular beaches in Spain have been closed due to sewage leaking into the water and turning the surf a filthy brown.

The Carlotti Cove in Santa Pola and Playa de las Villas de Pilar de la Horadada, in Alicante, have been shut down and will remain so until the water is deemed clean enough for swimmers to venture into, Las Provincias reported.

Trini Ortiz, town councillor for Infrastructure, said there had "been a failure in the pump that drives the water collected in Santa Pola del Este to the treatment plant".

"Upon detecting the spill this morning, we have asked the Ministry of the Environment to take action on the matter as urgently as possible and work has been underway since early morning to repair the system and implement a double notice to reinforce security," she said.

Spain holiday warning for Brits as popular beaches closed and red flags issued rriddqixxiqezinvThe usually tempting waters have been contaminated (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Ángel Piedecausa, the councillor for beaches, said that in Carlotti Cove a "layer between 10 and 15 centimetres thick is being removed and it is going to be replaced by sand from the same area."

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In Santa Pola, an emergency protocol has been activated and the beach has closed, with signs put up and a red flag raised to warn people away from the unpleasant substance.

Mayor Loreto Serrano apologised to swimmers and those taking holidays in the area for the inconvnience, and thanked them for their patience while work is carried out in the area.

In Pilar de la Horadada officials said there is contamination in the swimming area in Playa de Las Villas due to faecal matter found in the water. Samples have been taken this week which showed the contamination levels were twice the permitted amount.

The beach closures come after swimmers were banned from the water in two more spots in Alicante after "abnormal" levels of bacteria were detected in the water. Both Urbanova and San Gabriel beaches were shut down.

Spain is not the only country affected by pollutants in the water. The UK is regularly hit with similar spills of sewage. Enough so that nearly one in four sea swimmers say they will stay out of British seaside waters this summer due to filthy sewage discharge.

It comes after data earlier this year showed water companies had spilled sewage into Blue Flag beaches a staggering 1,504 times in 2022. According to the poll by Savanta for the Liberal Democrats, just over 30% of adults said they go swimming in the sea over the summer months, and of these 23% will now avoid it due to the pollution from water companies.

The data also show 43% of beach goers say they are now less likely to visit the British seaside in the coming weeks. Treated sewage is regularly discharged from the system into waterways - but there are also overflows of untreated waste and storm water into rivers.

Liberal Democrat Environment spokesman Tim Farron said: "Sewage dumping by water companies is ruining the British beach holiday.

"Coastal communities are at the mercy of water companies who unapologetically discharge raw sewage into popular swimming sports. "If this continues, tourists will turn away from British beach holidays, leaving small businesses and local tourism to suffer from their mess".

He added: "No-one should have to go for a swim or build a sandcastle next to raw sewage. This Conservative government needs to stop letting water companies off the hook and finally ban these disgusting sewage discharges and defend our tourism sector."

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Milo Boyd

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