Beach fails water test

Dog walkers with their dog in the "No Dog Walking" section of Seaton Beach.. Picture By FRANK REID
Dog walkers with their dog in the "No Dog Walking" section of Seaton Beach.. Picture By FRANK REID

EXPERTS say wet weather has led to a beach failing a water quality test.

The latest Good Beach Guide by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) found that the beach at Seaton Carew North did not meet the minimum bathing water quality in the national testing programme.

Beaches at Seaton Carew North Gare, Seaton Carew Centre and Crimdon were all given a mandatory rating after 95 per cent of samples passes minimum standards.

The MCS blamed “one of the UK’s wettest summers on record” for leading to a worrying drop in the number of beaches around the country being recommended for their excellent bathing water quality, which was echoed by Northumbrian Water and Hartlepool Borough Council.

Bosses at Northumbrian Water say there have been huge improvements in bathing water quality in recent years and several millions of pounds have been spent in Seaton Carew to make further improvements, including more than £3m spend on work at two pumping stations.

A spokesman added: “We are currently involved in and intend to spend £1.5m on schemes to improve bathing water quality and we are seeing what else we can do.

“We are doing what we can to help bathing waters achieve higher standards, but there are things that other people can do.”

Experts say residents have an important part to play, making sure we pick up after animals and dispose of the waste in recognised bins so that it does not make it into the drainage systems or directly into the sea.

At home people can to look after drains, do not put fats, oils or greases down the sink or flush rubbish down the toilets, such as cotton bud sticks and wet wipes as this can block the sewers and cause sewer overflow pipes to discharge untreated sewage into rivers and the sea.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said the test results were linked to the prolonged and very heavy rainfall last year.

He added: “These conditions have been connected to sporadic test failures in the past which are usually expected to reverse once the weather improves.

“We are continuing to liaise closely with both the Environment Agency and Northumbrian Water to look at how the issues highlighted by these test results can best be addressed.

“We will continue to display advice at the bathing beach about water quality so that the public can make informed choices.”

It comes as Hartlepool and East Durham is set to face further weather woes as the cold snap looks set to continue.

An amber warning for snow is expected to remain in place today, as light snow at various points during today.

Temperatures in Hartlepool and East Durham are not expected to rise for the weekend, with the wind-chill making temperatures feel as low as -4C.

Thursday and Friday are expected to be dry in Hartlepool, but weather experts say there will be light showers on Saturday.