Torbay Council has welcomed the good news that out of the 14 registered bathing beaches in Torbay, 11 have retained their ‘Excellent’ categorisation, and the remaining three retained their ‘Good’ water quality ratings for 2022.
The ratings were awarded by the Environment Agency who closely monitor the quality of bathing water to make sure regulations are being complied with. DEFRA (Department for Food Environment and Rural Affairs) is then legally required to publish the Environment Agency’s annual findings and classifications.
This is now the second year that Goodrington Beach has received a ‘Good’ rating, after receiving a ‘Sufficient’ rating three years prior.
Torbay Council, alongside partners, has worked hard to continuously monitor water quality through increased testing, survey works and investigations identifying any areas of concern.
Each year, the Environment Agency takes up to 20 water samples at each of England’s designated bathing waters during the bathing water season between May and September.
A classification for each bathing water is calculated annually based on samples from the previous four years. These classifications are:
• Excellent – the highest, cleanest water quality
• Good – generally good water quality
• Sufficient – the water meets the minimum standard
• Poor – the water has not met the minimum standard. Work to improve quality at Poor sites are detailed in the site’s profile.
If a bathing water is classified as Poor, then a sign advising against bathing will be displayed. However, the beach remains open for people to enjoy.
Each water sample is tested for bacteria that indicate whether there is faecal matter in the water. These bacteria are known as faecal indicator organisms or FIOs and the specific ones that samples are tested for are Escherichia coli (or E. coli) and Intestinal enterococci.
These bacteria can come from many sources including sewage, agricultural livestock, wildlife, birds, and road drainage.
Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture, said: “Torbay Harbour Authority has a duty of care to the ensure the water quality is as best as it can be. This is a responsibility we take extremely seriously as a whole council.
“This new rating is a testament to how we have worked hard alongside our partners to maintain our standards in bathing water quality.
“This rating acknowledges that we are continuing to make positive steps, but we are also aware of the current challenges and understand that improvements still need to be made.
“We are now striving for ‘Excellent’ ratings across the board and will continue to take a partnership approach to achieve this.”
Councillor Steve Darling, Leader of Torbay Council, said: “At a time when disturbing levels of sewage discharge into rivers and coastal waters is in the national spotlight, it is comforting to know that we have a strong position for our water cleanliness in Torbay. This means that people like myself who enjoy taking a dip and sea kayaking can do this with confidence.”
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