sea water quality is improving, finds new study
sea water quality is improving following a programme of work over
the course of this year, according to a new study published this
water quality at Brean, Berrow and Burnham has been graded under
tough new EU Bathing Water standards.
has been classed as 'Excellent', Berrow as 'Good' and Burnham-On-Sea
Sedgemoor's Bathing Water Quality Group says it is disappointed
that the bathing water quality at Burnham Jetty North Beach has
again been classified as 'poor' it welcomed the news that the sea
water quality is continuing to improve.
Yates-Smith, from Litter Free Coast & Sea Somerset, right,
told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "The Environment Agencys results
have shown that Burnham Jetty Norths bathing water is continuing
to improve and this year the community have been part of this progress."
"Lots of people have shown a real passion for protecting their
environment by working with Litter Free Coast and Sea Somerset to
set up key groups like the Friends of Burnham Beach clean group
or helping to spread the word about responsible dog ownership through
the Burnham Pooper Troopers. Businesses have also been a part of
the movement towards cleaner seas and beaches through their involvement
in the Dont Feed the Locals campaign, helping
to spread the word about the negative effects of feeding seagulls."
"I want to thank everyone who has been involved with Litter
Free Coast and Sea Somerset so far and remind people that you dont
have to be part of a group to help protect bathing water. You can
help at home too by making sure you dont put fats, oils and
greases down the sink as it can cause blockages. Blockages affect
waterways causing raw sewage to flow into our rivers and oceans.
Make sure you let them cool and scrape or pour into food waste bin
for recycling or into your household waste. You can help in the
loo too by only flushing the 3Ps pee, poo and paper
- everything else should go in the bin!"
Water's work to upgrade the sewerage system in and around Bridgwater
and Highbridge should be one of the final pieces in the jigsaw to
improve things, alongside the work by local groups and residents.
comes after analysis has been carried out over the past five years
to investigate a range of local pollution sources. These include
household plumbing wrongly connected to surface water systems, overflows
from sewerage infrastructure, agricultural inputs, run-off from
agricultural land, dog waste, sewage treatment works and septic
"There is a huge catchment area related to the sea at Burnham-On-Sea
and the bathing beach is located at the mouth of the two large rivers
that drain this area," said a spokeswoman for the Bathing Water
is not one discharge source causing the problems; there are 'thousands'
of sources of pollution across a huge catchment area of the Rivers
Parrett and Brue."
"Six years of concerted effort by members of the group have
brought Burnham Jetty North much closer to passing the tougher standards.
The group will continue its efforts to tackle the problems across
the catchment area. This includes a multi-million pound investment
by Wessex Water to help improve the bathing water quality."
She added: "We are so pleased that we are very nearly there
with the classification at Burnham Beach. A huge amount of work
has been done over the season and the results are paying off. Everyone
has a part to play in protecting and improving our local bathing
waters. If we continue to work together to reduce pollution, we
can improve water quality and ensure our bathing waters and coastal
communities continue to thrive."
The organisations which make up the group are the Department of
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Environment Agency; Internal
Drainage Boards; National Farmers Union; National Health Service;
Natural England; Sedgemoor District Council; Tourism sector and
The Environment Agency monitors water quality throughout the summer
to ensure people can make informed choices about when and where
to bathe, swim and paddle.
The classification categories of water quality are 'excellent',
'good', 'sufficient' or 'poor'. The classifications are based on
the level of bacteria in the water as monitored by the Environment
Agency between May and September.
What are the sources of pollution?
Bathing water quality is not only impacted by direct sources of
pollution at the beach; there are many reasons why water quality
can suffer, especially within a large catchment area that feeds
into the two main rivers the Parrett and the Brue. The main
sources of pollution are: Pollution from sewerage systems
misconnected drains and poorly maintained septic tanks; Animals
and birds on or near beaches dog, bird and other animal faeces;
Water draining form populated areas; Agricultural sources
water running off fields where animals are and into the rivers;
and Domestic sewerage bacteria can enter surface water as
a result of system failures i.e. storm overflows.
Wessex Water has committed £39 million within Sedgemoor to
protect the environment and improve water quality. The multi-million
pound project comprises of a number of schemes including work in
in and around Bridgwater , including West Quay (Northgate carpark),
Bristol Road, Blake Gardens, East Quay, Colley Lane and Sloway Lane
at West Huntspill. These schemes will reduce the number to times
that there are spills from the sewerage systems into water courses
following periods of high rainfall.
The group have also jointly funded a project officer for Litter
Free Coast and Sea Somerset, a community campaign to reduce marine
and beach litter and improve and maintain bathing water quality
A community group Burnham Pooper Troopers have pinpointed certain
specific dog fouling hot spot areas and these will be targeted with
A recent addition was the 2-minute beach clean initiative. This
encourages beach uses to do a 2-minute (or longer) litter pick as
part of their visit by supply bags, gloves and litter picking tongs.
More campaigns are planned for the next bathing water season in