Somerset bathing – getting better?

The latest survey of bathing water carried out by the Environment Agency has some good news in it. The EA has been monitoring bathing water sites since the 1990s. During this time period they say there has significant improvement in water quality.  Bathing waters are monitored for sources of pollution known to be a risk to bathers’ health. Up to 20 samples are taken from each site during the bathing season. Each sample is tested for bacteria, specifically E coli and intestinal enterococci.

There are four grades given: Excellent, Good, Sufficient, Poor. Poor is a fail, Sufficient the minimum standard.

The results, released today (19 January), show 94.7% of beaches gained an ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’ rating for 2021. But the key question you’ll want to know is how did Somerset’s beaches fare? It was something of a mixed bag. The number of places monitored is small, so percentages don’t help much. On the plus side:

Porlock was rated excellent.

Minehead Terminus, Brean and Berrow were all rated Good.

On the not so good side:

Dunster and Blue Anchor were rated Sufficient.

Things were a lot less happy for those beaches in the historic county now part of North Somerset. The three sampling stations at Weston gave ratings of Poor in one case and Sufficient in the other two.

Whichever way you cut the numbers, Somerset has a way to go to match the national average of 94.7% gaining an Excellent or Good rating.

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