Wet summer blamed for dirty beach water

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A HARTLEPOOL beach has failed to pass the minimum beach water standard in an annual testing programme.

The Seaton Carew North beach is one of six in the North-East to fail the Environment Agency’s bathing water quality test.

Beaches at Seaton Carew Centre, Seaton Carew North Gare and Crimdon we all given the minimum standard pass in the testing scheme.

Nationwide the latest water quality tests found that 93 per cent of England’s beaches reached the mandatory minimum levels, compared to 98 per cent in 2011.

Around England, 29 coastal sites failed to make the minimum grade, up from just nine spots last year, figures from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) showed.

The fall came as the UK suffered the wettest summer for a century, with heavy rainfall washing pollution from cities and the countryside into rivers and down to the sea.

Lord Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency, said: “Bathing water quality has improved significantly over the past two decades, but this year heavy rainfall over the summer has affected results.

“During intense rainfall, pollution from farmland, roads and drains is washed into rivers and coastal areas.

“Water companies also operate combined sewage overflows to prevent sewage from backing up and flooding people’s homes.”

He warned that the very wet conditions highlighted that more needs to be done by water companies, businesses, farmers and local authorities to improve water quality on beaches and meet the more stringent EU standards coming in by 2015.