'Sewer blockage' caused high levels of E.coli at Jersey's Grève de Lecq

The cause behind high levels of E.coli at Grève de Lecq, preventing islanders from swimming there, has been found.

The Infrastructure Team discovered a partial blockage on the incoming sewer to one of the pumping stations. 

This caused sewage to overflow and enter the surface water system that carries the water to sea. 

The E.coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhoea, stomach cramps and fever, was discovered in a sample taken near Grève de Lecq last week. 

It returned a count of 3300 cfu/100ml, which officials say is 'considerably higher than the European threshold for “poor” water quality'.

Credit: Georgina BarnesGrève de Lecq

Islanders were advised against swimming in the water nearby and to contact their GP, should they become unwell. 

Since then, a full investigation has been launched into the outbreak. 

The latest levels of the bacteria to be recorded on 20 May are still 'poor', at 727 cfu per 100ml.

This means it is still unsafe for swimmers. 

Andy Jehan, Minister for Infrastructure

The Minister for Infrastructure, Constable Andy Jehan, tells us more about how the bacteria outbreak was identified: 

“The Infrastructure team have now identified what they believe to have been causing the poor seawater quality at Grève de Lecq, and have taken steps to stop any further discharges into the bay.

“It appears there was a partial blockage on the incoming sewer to one of the pumping stations, causing some sewage to overtop the foul sewer and enter the surface water system, which normally carries just the surface water out to sea.

“I’d like to thank the team who quickly isolated the station and found the exact location of the problem, to stop further leakage into the environment.”

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