Is your house one of the 60,000 properties in the North West with a private sewage treatment system or septic tank? There are lots of (simple) ways you can help protect our rivers and seas in the spirit of Word Rivers Day! Water samples taken by the Environment Agency and the Rivers Trust highlight that certain waterways are failing the safe limits for faecal bacteria found..
This week, LOVEmyBEACH Campaign Manager, Stephanie Wyatt awarded Blackpool & Fylde College a ‘LOVEmyBEACH Hero’ award to recognise the work carried out by its Marine Biology students to improve bathing water quality in the area. Blackpool and The Fylde College’s Marine Biology students have been working on real life bathing water projects, in conju..
Two huge red bulk waste bins are in place in West Kirby and New Brighton this Bank Holiday weekend and everyday throughout the summer at New Brighton – as part of Wirral council’s response to keep the beaches and seas clean, enabling visitors to #binit4beaches. The bins – one in West Kirby and one in New Brighton – will be placed close to the beach and promenade an..
Blackpool Council, Keep Britain Tidy and LOVEmyBEACH are all partners working hard to keep Blackpool's beaches and bathing waters clean under the campaign Keep Blackpool Tidy, especially during the busy Bank Holiday weekend. Cllr Gillian Campbell, Deputy Leader Blackpool Council explained some of the interventions put in place along the seafront this year: There are o..
This summer local residents Tracy, Amber and Carla have taken it upon themselves to set up a new beach clean group in Formby. Named the Formby and Freshfield Beach Litter Angels the group currently conduct 1 to 2 beach cleans a week, normally late in the evening in order to give people who work and those with yo..
The Environment Agency monitors bathing waters – stretches of sea or lake where many people swim and paddle – to assess whether they meet the strict standards of the European Bathing Water Directive. The standards are set to protect public health and the environment from pollution.
The Environment Agency takes 20 water samples at each bathing water between May and September each year and post the information online: http://environment.data.gov.uk/bwq/profiles/
The samples are tested for certain types of bacteria: escherichia coli (E.coli) and intestinal enterococci, which are not directly harmful but indicate the presence of pollution. The bacteria are found in the intestines of animals and humans and pass through the body in poo. High levels of bacteria = poor water quality.
However, the water may be cleaner on the actual day you visit the beach, as the quality can change, particularly after heavy rain washes pollution into rivers and the sea. Look out for daily forecasts at some beaches.
Each beach is also given an annual classification. From 2015 this is based on sample results over the previous four years, e.g. 2015 results use data from 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. 2016 results use data from 2013 to 2016 and so on. The classifications are:
The standard is the highest, cleanest class
Generally good water quality
The water meets the minimum standards
Bathing is not advised at this beach as water quality has not met sufficient standards
If a bathing water is classed as Poor, you are advised not to bathe because samples taken over the previous four years have been affected by pollution. This does not mean the beach is closed – you can still enjoy everything the beach has to offer.
If a water sample has high levels of bacteria, analysis is done to estimate* the sources of pollution and work is planned in the area to improve water quality. When this work is significant and is expected to help improve bathing water quality, the four years of data for the annual classification starts from the time the work is completed and sample data from before the work are not included. This is called step change.
*Estimates are based on computer modelling, DNA analysis, and knowledge of the local area. The estimates can never be perfect because pollution to bathing waters changes from day to day depending on the season, the tides and the weather.