Bathing beaches in Lincolnshire are once again being tested to make sure they meet strict water quality standards.
Environment Agency experts will spend the next five months taking water samples from all nine bathing beaches in Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire to check that they meet European bacteriological water quality standards.
Blue Flag beaches in Cleethorpes, Skegness, Mablethorpe and Sutton-on-Sea will be under scrutiny alongside other designated bathing beaches at Huttoft, Anderby, Chapel St Leonards, Ingoldmells and Humberston.
Adrian Lack, Sampling and Collection Team Leader at the Environment Agency, said: “Our water sampling is vital to make sure visitors to Lincolnshire’s beaches know that they are suitable for swimming. We test for bacteria that are usually associated with upset stomachs and which can come from waste water or from poorly-treated sewage or animal faeces.
“Farmers, businesses, local authorities and water companies all have a role to play in continuing to improve water quality. As well as our annual testing regime, the Environment Agency is also working with them to tackle pollution from animal waste, roads, homes and businesses which can enter streams, rivers and, ultimately, bathing waters.”
The Environment Agency takes 20 samples from every EU-designated bathing water site between 1 May and 30 September each year.
Results and beach-specific information are available on the Environment Agency’s website at http://environment.data.gov.uk/lab/bwq-web.html and can be used when planning seaside visits.
The Environment Agency also records other information about the beach to ensure it continues to meet the required standards. This includes the presence of sewage-derived litter and foaming, along with information about how the beach is used.
The results of the testing help to determine whether a beach meets the requirements of the international Blue Flag award scheme. The scheme is only open to beaches that meet the strictest water quality standards and is a guarantee to tourists that a beach is one of the best in the world.
To gain a Blue Flag, however, beaches must meet a set of other criteria in addition to water quality. It is up to the managers of the beach to decide whether or not to meet the additional requirements.
For further information about bathing water sampling, go to www.environment-agency.gov.uk