Numerous beaches throughout the United Kingdom are at risk of failing strict EU water quality standards next year. Many are already at threat due to the current high standards.
Various beaches in the South East, including Hastings in East Sussex have low bathing water quality. In fact, Hastings has been deemed one of the poorest performing beaches in the South East. This means a lot of work is needed if it is to survive next year’s stricter standards.
According to the European Union, approximately 40 beaches in the UK are set to fail the new regulations that will be brought into place next year. Action needs to be taken to prevent pollution from ending up in the sea. If no action is taken at these beaches between now and next year, local authorities will have to display a sign at the beach to advise against swimming.
The European Union measures two minimum quality criterias in bathing water quality:
- The limit values of substances that are considered to be indicators of pollution
- The minimum sampling frequency and method of analysis or inspection of such water
The EU has been monitoring water quality since the 1970s. Between now and September, 8,400 samples will be taken from more than 400 beaches on a weekly basis.
According to the Environment Agency, 9 out of 10 swimming spots already meet the new standards. This shows that significant improvements have been made since 1990, when one in five beaches failed the UK’s basic standard. A fantastic 99% passed in 2013.
However there are still many areas in the UK with polluted surface water and groundwater.The pollution has been caused by agricultural runoff, sewage overflows, animal and bird faeces and poorly connected drains from businesses and households.
The Environment Agency found in various areas that one in five houses have misconnected drains. This is where domestic foul waste water is incorrectly sent to the surface water drains, causing raw sewage to be flushed into rivers, therefore ending up in bathing water and on beaches.
Director of water quality at the Environment Agency stated that ‘the seaside economy in England is worth around £3.6 billion a year – and every improvement in bathing water quality helps to protect that”.
Numerous water companies, local authorities and the Environment Agency are working together to sort out the problem.Hopefully the strict standards next year will be a step in the right direction, pushing areas to achieve the highest possible standards.
The idea is to ensure safe bathing areas for the public to enjoy. What is your view on the matter? Let us know in the comments below, and if you’re interested in learning more about water quality monitoring, take a look at our Water Quality Testing page.