Coastal swimming ban lifted as pollution abates
18 August 2006 BRUSSELS — The bans on swimming at the Belgian coast were lifted on Friday after the Flemish Environment Agency announced that bacterial pollution levels had reverted to normal.
18 August 2006
BRUSSELS — The bans on swimming at the Belgian coast were lifted on Friday after the Flemish Environment Agency announced that bacterial pollution levels had reverted to normal.
The authorities first acted on Wednesday when the agency tested the water and found alarming levels of contamination: eight beaches were closed between the coastal resorts of Oostende and Blankenberge.
The pollution was caused by the recent heavy rain, which had flooded the national sewer system. The wastewater then entered drainage ditches, streams and rivers like the IJzer and the Ghent-Oostende canal.
These, in turn, brought the untreated sewage — mainly human and animal excrement — straight into the North Sea.
The rainfall has proved exceptional. According to Meteo West-Vlaanderen, a Coxyde-based service specialised in weather forecasts for the coast, some 78lr of rain per square metre fell on Blankenberge in two days — including 56lr in just three hours on Sunday 13 August.
Oostende escaped the worst, but still recorded 38lr in two days, while Coxyde endured 33lr, with 17lr during one hour on Monday.
By 14 August, the overall national rainfall was already 95lr for the month, a third more than usual, and Meteo West-Vlaanderen's Rudy Boedt, says the August 1963 record of 177lr could be broken.
The storms on Sunday and Monday also produced 238 flashes of lightning on the east coast and 80 on the west coast.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news