Rain blamed as beach fails test

Seaton Carew
Seaton Carew

HEAVY rain during the summer is being give as the reason a beach failed to pass the minimum bathing water standard in an annual testing programme.

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 were all given the minimum standard pass in the testing scheme.

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “While the failure of the bathing waters off this particular beach is disappointing, we believe the test results are a direct consequence of the very heavy rainfall that we have experienced at times this year.

“Following periods of particularly heavy rain, excess water, which by its very nature is completely untreated, runs off the land into the sea, while further rain water is also released into the sea via a secondary outflow system to counter the risk of flooding.

“These factors result in sporadic test failures which are usually reversed 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 as we move forward.”

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, 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.