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Sewage overflow causes swimming ban on French coast

It is affecting beaches in Calvados and Seine-Maritime

A view of the vintage first aid hut at Deauville beach, Normandy, France

Deauville in Normandy is one of the beaches that is currently closed due to pollution Pic: Rosanne de Vries / Shutterstock

Swimming has been banned at some popular beaches in northern France after heavy rain caused nearby sewage plants to overflow.

The overflow happened at Caen sewage plant overnight on Monday (July 31).

The beaches affected included Deauville, Trouville, Houlgate, Cabourg, Merville-Franceville, Villers-sur-Mer and Blonville-sur-Mer. 

The Dieppe sewage treatment plant suffered a similar issue, causing a swimming ban at Puys beach.

The mayor of Merville-Franceville, Olivier Paz, explained: “After heavy rain overnight, the Caen sewage plant had to bypass [reject without treating] 2,000m3 of used water into the [river] Orne.”

Entering or using the water is banned by decree at the affected beaches, including for swimming, fishing, or sports.

The decree will remain in place “until further notice”, Mr Paz said.

For those who wish to brave the less-than-summery weather, other beaches in Normandy remain unaffected and are still open. These include beaches west of the Orne, on the Nacre coast.

Read more: How long will northern France’s colder ‘autumn-like’ weather last? 

It comes as Météo France has placed 66 departments, including Calvados, on yellow alert for strong winds on Wednesday (August 2).

It warned: “Due to a depression that is circulating over the British Isles, strong winds are expected in the north of the country as well as a higher-than-normal sea level and strong waves on the coast.”

Read also

Which beaches should you avoid in France this summer?
Green, yellow, red, purple: New safety flag system for French beaches 

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