There are several different sources of contamination or faecal bacteria that can affect the quality of bathing waters.
The main sources of bacteria are from:-
• Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) that operate during heavy rainfall to protect homes from flooding
• Run-off from buildings, land, farms and roads
• Misconnections which are incorrectly plumbed in (toilets, washing machines etc) into surface water drains
• Streams and rivers that bring bacteria from inland sources and flow into the sea at or near the bathing water
• Seabirds, such as gulls, that roost on piers and other structures at the coast
• Animals on the beach that leave faecal matter behind, such as dogs and horses
It is important that the exact cause of the bacterial contamination is found so that the correct solution can be implemented.
Roles and responsibilities
In England the revised Bathing Water Directive (rBWD) is administered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The Environment Agency (EA) are the competent authority for implementing the Directive and this means making sure that, as a minimum, all bathing waters meet the Sufficient classification by 2015.
The Bathing Water Controller is the person or organisation that manages the bathing water and under the rBWD they have to provide signage and information to beach users.
|Set the regulations for bathing waters in England
||Monitor, analyse and publish bathing water quality information
||From 2012 onwards place signs at each bathing water with information (e.g. from bathing water profile)
|Provide guidance on implementing the requirements of the Directive
||Make sure action is taken to improve bathing water quality
||Provide information about bathing water quality at each location
|Encourage public participation
||Provide bathing water profiles for every bathing water
||Provide advice against bathing if the seawater quality is classified as Poor
|Enforce the regulations
||After 2015 bathing season classify each bathing water as either Excellent, Good, Sufficient or Poor
||Remove waste from the bathing water
As a water company our responsibility is to continue operate our wastewater system effectively to protect bathing waters quality. We are committed to playing a key role in the future improvements to bathing water quality and to provide real time spill notifications to alert our customers and beach users of potential short term reduction in water quality.
What can you do to help?
We do our best to make that our sewerage service operates to stop sewage being released into the environment before it can be treated properly at a sewage treatment works.
To make sure that homes and businesses are not flooded during periods of heavy rainfall, combined sewer overflows (CSOs) operate to allow the excess water to temporarily spill into streams, rivers and the sea.
CSOs act as the sewerage systems’ pressure release valve but can sometimes operate when there is a blockage. These blockages are often caused by things being flushed down the toilet and put down the sink that should have been placed in a bin. Examples are cotton buds, sanitary pads, condoms, fat, oil and grease.
Useful links with details of how you can help:-
Bag it and Bin it
Keep Britain Tidy
Marine Conservation Society
Surfers Against Sewage