Spanish beaches closed due to high concentration of bacteria

by Lorraine Williamson
beaches closed

VALENCIA – Five busy Spanish beaches were temporarily closed during the first busy holiday weekend of this summer. This was after unusually high bacteria concentrations were detected in the water. 

Due to water pollution, a red flag was raised on the following beaches;

  • Urbanova and San Gabriel in Alicante
  • El Arenal in Xàbia
  • Centro and Els Tossals in Guardamar del Segura

Consequently, these beaches were closed on Friday after tests revealed elevated levels of the bacterium enterococcus, as confirmed by the General Directorate of Water and Alicante city council. The tests were part of the routine checks of the Water Quality Control Program of the Generalitat Valenciana. 

Before the beaches reopened on Saturday, officials conducted water quality tests. However, by then, the bacteria concentration had stabilised, local news sources reported. 

Previous incidents on other beaches 

Specialists clarified that the elevated bacteria levels did not come from river outflows or the San Gabriel treatment plant. This closure followed another incident on July 22, where beaches such as Medicalia, Puig Val, Old Fishermen’s Quarter and Els Plans were closed due to a mysterious white, granular substance on their shores. 

Cause not yet known, but beaches are open again 

People were advised not to swim along the coast of El Puig, a famous holiday resort near Valencia, as authorities tried to identify this unknown substance. Although samples were taken and are still being investigated, these beaches are now open again. 

Cogesa Expats

Also read: Invasive algae discovered “for the first time” on the coast of Barcelona 

Harmful algae 

Elsewhere, holidaymakers in both Spain and France were recently advised to exercise caution due to an increase in harmful algae. These algae can cause symptoms ranging from skin irritation to flu-like symptoms. 

Warming of the Mediterranean waters, attributed to climate change, has led to increased concentrations of the harmful Ostreopsis algae, as reported by the Spanish Institute of Marine Sciences. 

More outbreaks due to rising water temperatures 

Dr Elisa Berdalet of the Institute of Marine Sciences commented on the situation, noting that “rising water temperatures in the Mediterranean will lead to larger, longer-lasting outbreaks of toxic Ostreopsis algae, potentially impacting tourism in the future.” 

Also read: Biodiversity in Southern Spanish waters worryingly degraded 

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