Environment Agency hosts bathing water seminars for beach controllers

The Environment Agency will host bathing water seminars for beach controllers across the South West this week. The two seminars held jointly with DeFRA are designed to increase awareness of the European wide revised Bathing Water Directive among Beach controllers and clarify their understanding of the new directive requirements and timetable. The revised Bathing Water Directive, introduced in 2006, significantly changes the way bathing waters are managed. Bathing water quality standards are getting tighter. The Directive introduces a new classification scheme:

– Excellent – which is approximately twice as stringent as the current guideline standard
– Good – similar to the current guideline standard
– Sufficient – tighter than the current mandatory standard
– Poor – normally non-compliant waters

The Agency will sample on a four year rolling programme and report against these new classifications for the first time in 2015. All bathing waters need to achieve a classification of at least ‘sufficient’. The second important strand of the revised Directive is a greater emphasis on beach controllers providing public information at the beach. If a site is classified as poor in 2015 measures must be taken and advice against bathing posted at the bathing water by the beach controller.
Significantly, if a site is classified as poor for five consecutive seasons permanent advice against bathing must be issued and posted at the beach by the beach controller. Some sites in the South West that meet the current standards are at risk of not meeting the new standards in 2015. Read more on the Environment Agency website…