x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Swimming banned at The Club over sewage alert

Management of Abu Dhabi recreational club says banning swimming at its beach is the right thing to do 'to protect members'.

Swimmers at The Club have been banned from the sea because of a sewage problem off Abu Dhabi island.
Swimmers at The Club have been banned from the sea because of a sewage problem off Abu Dhabi island.

ABU DHABI // The Club in Abu Dhabi has banned swimming at its beach after its water tested positive for pollution from last week's sewage spill.

The expatriate recreational club, also known as the British Club, conducted an independent testing of the sea water on January 10 after reports of a sewage leak into the waters around Abu Dhabi island.

"Initial results indicated that the water contained unacceptable levels of pollutants," said Mike McGrath, the general manager. "We took immediate action, in the interest of our members, to temporarily suspend sea-based recreational facilities," he said. The beach is open but guests are not allowed to enter the water.

Mr McGrath said the results from the local laboratory would be "deemed acceptable" by European Union safety standards, but that the decision was taken as a precautionary step.

Robert Liddington, a club member since 2004, said the management is "doing the right thing".

"If there is some environmental thing going on in the water, you would assume that The Club would want to look after its members and make sure they are protected, which they are doing," he said.

It came after swimmers were banned from Al Bateen beach after a building contractor broke a main sewer pipe in the area of Mohammed bin Zayed City, east of Musaffah.

The pipe had to be closed, which increased pressure on the rest of the network and caused sewage to spill into the sea through outflow pipes at Al Bateen, and off the Mangrove Corniche in the north-east of the island.

Mr McGrath said The Club, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, is waiting for further results to come back to "verify or refute" their initial findings.

"We look forward to reopening the sea when we receive confirmation that it is safe for recreational use."

molson@thenational.ae