Seaweed smell explanation leaves noses out of joint

Cllr Maria Doyle on a bed of Seaweed on Blackrock beach
Councillor Maria Doyle says she wants a definitive report into what exactly caused the noxious smell that plagued Blackrock over the summer months.

Councillor Maria Doyle says she wants a definitive report into what exactly caused the noxious smell that plagued Blackrock over the summer months.

According to the county council, rotting seaweed and algae are to blame.

In a written answer to Cllr Doyle’s question on the matter, the council said: “The deposition of seaweed and algae on the beaches of Blackrock is a naturally occurring process which depends on sea temperature and wind direction. The chief seaweed identified was Ectropurus and Sea Lettuce

“The cost of removal of this material is substantial and is not financially viable to remove it on an ongoing basis. The same algae and seaweed impacts on a number of beaches along the Louth coast.

“However, some funding should be provided to enable the beaches at Blackrock to be cleaned at critical times of the season”.

Cllr Doyle now wants a definitive report to be made on the cause of the odour, where it’s been such a problem this year and how much clean-ups actually cost.

“I understand that has been an issue on to other beaches along the coast of Louth,” Cllr Doyle told the Democrat. “Finding a solution should assist all those areas along the Louth coastline which have been affected.

“If the council believe definitively that the smell is not caused by sewage, then I believe they should issue a statement to that effect.

“If it is not viable, as the reply I received states, to continue to clean away the rotting seaweed regularly, then is it even more important that we do whatever we can to find a long term solution, if one exists. It needs to be investigated further to see what, if anything, can be done.”

At the Dundalk Municipal council meeting the council said categorically that an investigation by the EPA and the water treatment plant said that the facility was not responsible.

Cllr Tomás Sharkey said he didn’t care what any scientist said, he refused to believe the smell was j ust rotting seaweed and that the process was exasperated by something else.

Cllr Peter Savage said it had been a problem in Bellurgan for decades, but only because “noses were higher in Blackrock was something being done about it now,” a comment which elicited no small amount of laughter from the council.