Puerto Santiago’s Playa Chica reopened to bathers after sewage works pump repairs put end to foul-smelling spill

Photo: Santiago del Teide Ayuntamiento.

Updated 2 August: Santiago del Teide Ayuntamiento has announced this afternoon that Playa Chica has been reopened after the problems caused by a broken pump in the sewage treatment works. The council says that the problems have been resolved and all relevant analysis shows the water quality is adequate for reopening the beach to bathers.

Original post 31 July: Santiago del Teide Ayuntamiento says that it will keep Puerto Santiago’s Playa Chica closed until tests on the water confirm it is safe for bathing. There have been increasing concerns over the past week or so with the beach closed on Friday because of what appears to have been a foul-smelling spill caused by the breakage of one of the pumps in the local sewage station: some reports say that fabric towels were sucked into the filter system but that that specific problem has now been resolved. The council says that until it gets the all clear from the analysis, the red flag will continue to fly to ban bathing.

The spill comes as Spain has been fined €12m by the European Court of Justice for violations of the European directive on urban waste water collection and treatment. The ECJ ruled in 2011 that there were around 50 or so urban significant-sized areas throughout the country failing to meet the standards set by the EU, and Madrid was given until 2013 to comply. The deadline came and went, however, and in 2017 the EU Commission took fresh legal action, with the ECJ issuing the latest fine plus a penalty of €22 million a year measured every six-months until the problems are resolved and water treatment is up to standard.

Despite the acknowledged unregulated spills in the Canaries only one, in the Güímar valley, is actually identified in the ECJ ruling. Meanwhile, Playa Chica remains closed until the authorities receive the go-ahead from the water analysis, and locals say they hope this year won’t be like previous ones, with several closures to disrupt their own and holidaymakers’ plans.


  1. Another visitor been struck down with Norovirus like symptoms.

    Had enough of this now … the sea outside is a mess of floating ****

    time to take some action

  2. Although it would appear that the very obvious raw sewerage pipe leak on Santiago beach does not seem to be visable since the end of 2019, the amount of effluent that has already been “dumped” on Playa Chica must be very significant and is not going get washed away anytime soon.
    With the red flag flying, and the beach cordoned off I am amazed that some people still defy this and sunbathe on the beach, while dogwalkers trek the waterline picking up shells and stones.

  3. From what I understand it will be a considerable time before that beach can open and I am not at all convinced that the Council are on top of the issue and dealing with it in an effective manner.

    As I understand it major works are required to upgrade/improve the pipework across a wide area as well as significant improvements needed to the treatment capabilities (such that they are) at Santiago beach.

    I wouldn’t hold your breath (actually, given the stench I would!)

  4. Is the playa chica beach in Puerto Santiago open or not.
    are the water quality problems solved? the red flag has been flying forever, but there is no service there either. we would like to know if we can swim there again?

    1. Author

      I have heard no specific information about its reopening but quite evidently if the red flag is flying then bathing is not permitted.

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