As part of the Cleaner Seas Forum, Northumbrian Water is providing voluntarily, real time combined sewer overflow information to enable our customers to identify when and where these may affect bathing waters.
We started with Saltburn Bathing Water in 2011 and extended this to the Tynemouth and Sunderland Bathing Waters in 2012. In 2013 we extended this to cover all bathing waters which could be influenced by intermittent spills from our assets (31 of the 34 Bathing Waters in the North-East). This system is running all year round to provide additional advice to our customers. This information is also being provided automatically to Local Authorities and to Surfers Against Sewage, so that their Safer Seas Service subscribers can keep up to date with water quality via their app.
Please note that following heavy rainfall, bathing water quality may also be affected by runoff from agricultural, highway and urban areas which contains bacterial contamination: this is not shown by our webpage.
- What do the pin colours mean?
Normally each Bathing Water shows a blue pin to show that no key overflows have operated. When an overflow is detected for more than half an hour an automated e-mail notification is sent out (a Start Notice) and an amber pin shows. A Stop notice is issued once all discharges monitored have ceased for half an hour. (Notices are sent to Beach Controllers, Surfers Against Sewage and the Environment Agency.) The discharge will continue to show an amber pin for 12 hours after the Stop notice has been issued (allowing time for tidal dispersion and inactivation) before the blue pin shows.
A yellow pin indicates a problem getting information. The three bathing waters (Low Newton, South Shields and Seaton Carew North Gare) which cannot be directly impacted by overflows are shown by white pins.
- Why do we need combined sewer overflows?
Combined sewer overflows are consented by the Environment Agency to operate in times of heavy rainfall. They are necessary to help protect customers’ homes and businesses, and surrounding land, from flooding. Northumbrian Water is committed to ensuring it protects and enhances the environment, and is continually investing significant amounts of money to upgrade and improve its vast sewerage network. We are also making a concerted effort to work with a number of partners to ensure a holistic approach to tackling flooding.
Our 34 designated bathing waters
- Amble Links
- Bamburgh Castle
- Blyth South Beach
- Druridge Bay North
- Druridge Bay South
The Cleaner Seas Forum is a Defra sponsored partnership, promoting better information about bathing waters. Partners in the forum include Defra, the Environment Agency, Keep Britain Tidy, British Resorts and Destinations Association, the Health Protection Agency, the Consumer Council for Water, the Marine Conservation Society, Water UK, Water Companies, Bathing Water Controllers and Surfers Against Sewage.