‘Swimfo’ helps people choose where and when to swim

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(Last Updated On: August 25, 2022)

Devon and Cornwall’s coastline is being enjoyed by millions of holidaymakers and local residents alike this summer. And many of those people have used Swimfo – the Environment Agency’s online tool giving up to date information on the water quality of many of our bathing beaches – to choose where and when to swim.

Using Swimfo you can look up details of the most popular bathing beaches by name or location and view the latest results of water tests taken by the Environment Agency.

From May to September each year, water quality at designated bathing water sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency. There are 150 designated bathing waters in Devon and Cornwall, more than a third of the total for England.

Throughout the bathing season, daily pollution risk forecasts are made for a number of bathing waters. This is where water quality may be temporarily reduced due to factors, such as heavy rainfall, as has been the case during the recent heavy rain/thunderstorms, wind, sunlight or the tide.

When the potential for a temporary reduction in water quality is forecast, the Environment Agency offers advice against bathing, which is posted on Swimfo.

This enables bathers to make informed decisions regarding avoiding times or locations where the risk of pollution is higher than normal, and health risks from bathing may be higher than the annual classification suggests.

Bruce Newport, Area Environment Manager for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly said:

“We are absolutely delighted that the bathing water sample results we are seeing this year are meeting the standard of previous good years.

“With the south west super busy – and with the Bank Holiday days away – we encourage people to use Swimfo and the information on there will help them make an informed decision on where or where not to bathe.

“A Pollution Risk Forecast for a particular bathing water does not mean there is an actual pollution alert. The system uses historical data to forecast whether there could be a pollution issue.”

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