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Bathing water quality

Beaches along the 560km coastline we serve are of exceptional quality and among the best in Europe.

There are a wide range of factors that affect the cleanliness of beaches and bathing waters, including agricultural and urban run-off.

We carefully manage wastewater and stormwater discharges from our coastal sewerage network and sewage treatment works to help protect bathing water quality and ensure high standards are maintained. Find out more about our CSOs

During the 2013 bathing season, 100% of the 47 designated bathing waters within our region achieved the ‘mandatory’ standard for water quality.

Compliance with the tighter ‘guideline’ standard was an all-time high at 95.7%.


During the 2011, 2012 and 2013 bathing seasons we successfully ran a web-based overflow notification system. This provided near real time information of when overflows operated at designated bathing waters.

This system has been reviewed and improved over the last two years with input from local councils, Surfers Against Sewage and the Environment Agency. We have made the following changes for summer 2014:

  • we are reporting on 42 overflows that can affect bathing water quality, compared with 41 in 2013
  • several bathing waters in our region are not affected by sewer overflows and these are clearly identified on our web pages
  • a new bathing water has been designated at Henleaze Lake in Bristol and details can be seen on our web pages
  • Henleaze Lake in Bristol is not affected by any Wessex Water overflows..

Check out Coastwatch, our real time system to notify when overflows, which may impact bathing water quality are operating. 


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