Bathing at the Arenal beach may re-open by the end of the week

The town hall has expressed its disappointment at the lack of urgency which has been “insensitive” to the reality of a tourist municipality in the middle of the tourist season.

Foto: Carlos López

Wednesday 27th July 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: Ajuntament de Xàbia

The town hall in Xàbia has issued a statement to confirm that the Arenal beach will remain closed until at last tomorrow Thursday 28th July, when the General Directorate of Water (DGA) will provide the results of the analyses that it has carried out within the official bathing water quality control programme.

Some tests were carried out immediately after the spill was detected but the DGA analysis was not carried out until this morning. This type of microbiological examination takes 24 hours to provide results so it will not be until tomorrow (Thursday) that it will be certified whether the quality of the water is suitable for bathing and the beach can be re-opened.

Both the mayor José Chulvi and the councillor responsible for Beaches, Toni Miragall, expressed their disappointment at the “intolerable delay” and for which “responsibilities will be demanded”, adding that the lack of urgency has been “insensitive” to the reality of a tourist municipality such as Xàbia in the middle of the holiday season.

Municipal officials have been in contact all morning with the DGA, part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ecological Transition as well as EPSAR, the public wastewater sanitation company which has been working on the repair of the underwater outfall pipe located off the beach, since it has carried out two further analyses since the spill was detected on Monday.

Each test covers eight points of the Arenal – five on the beach and three in the Canal de la Fontana – and in both samples (taken at midday on Monday 25th July and Tuesday 26th July), the results were completely normal. These were not related to an analysis made by another laboratory in the early morning of Monday 25th July which discovered contamination of fecal origin and which forced the closure of the Arenal beach.

Despite the fact that the two analyses were taken by laboratories dependent on the same Ministry and both with official certification, the DGA refused to unify criteria and chose to wait for its own reports in order to determine in the beach can be re-opened.

Throughout today, the Department of Beaches has maintained preventative and information measures to prevent bathing in the waters off the Arenal beach. The lifeguard post opened an hour earlier than usual and throughout the day messages were broadcast over the public address system in several languages which warn of the situation.

With regards to the origin of the contamination, EPSAR insist that it is not linked with the problem with the underwater outfall. The pipeline through which purified water has been discharged into the sea for decades and whose management and maintenance is the responsibility of EPSAR, a public company which is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Ecological Transition, suffered a fault in the Arenal at the end of April and was repaired in late June.

Subsequently, an obstruction of algae and sand was detected in a section next to the outfall and it was decided to completely replace 250 metres of the pipeline to avoid new problems, work that has been carried out since last week. During this time, constant tests of the water in the Arenal have been carried out and all have yielded positive results which are compatible with bathing.

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