A crappy situation on the shores of Reykjavík

Planning a beach holiday in Reykjavík? Probably not, but just in case, be warned.

Due to the continued repair of a sewage pumping station by Faxaskjól, two emergency valves by Skeljanes and Faxaskjól will be opened. This means that unfiltered sewage will be pumped into the ocean tomorrow morning.

The repairs are due to start at 8 a.m. and will most likely continue until midnight. The Reykjavik Health Department has been notified but Veitur, the pumping station’s operator, warns against trips to the beach or dips in the ocean.

The Faxaskjól pumping station broke down in late June, resulting in over 750 liters of unfiltered sewage being pumped into the ocean per second. The public wasn’t notified until 10 days after the emergency valve was opened at which point reports of used toilet paper, sanitary towels and cotton swabs started pouring in.

The Health Department originally stated that there was no reason to be concerned that the pollution would reach the public bathing area in Nauthólsvík. Then, last week, samples taken in Nauthólsvík showed a e-coli bacteria pollution of 1100/100, while the normal rate is 0-5/100.

The rate has gone down considerably and is now within guidelines. However it was still quite a bit higher than normal, at around 90/100, when samples were taken yesterday. That being said, samples from the Nauthólsvík lagoon only showed a rate of 2/100, which is well within the guidelines.

It is not yet known if the pollution in Nauthólsvík is linked to the Faxaskjól sewage pumping station. The health department takes samples daily and posts the results here.

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