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South East`s beaches meet water quality standards despite wettest summer on reco

Every beach in Southern Water’s region met European standards for bathing water quality this year, despite the wettest summer on record.

All the bathing waters met the European mandatory standard during the weekly sampling carried out by the Environment Agency between May and September.

Nationally, 93 per cent of England’s bathing waters met the minimum European water quality standard, with more than 58 per cent meeting the tighter guideline standard.

In Southern Water’s region, 100 per cent of bathing waters met the minimum mandatory standard and more than 70 per cent met the tighter guideline standard.

Wet weather affects bathing water quality as it causes run-off from roads and agricultural land which carries pollutants into streams, rivers and the sea.

The combination of hard ground caused by the dry winter, followed by the torrential rain over the summer led to an increase in such run-off.

John Spence, Southern Water’s Head of Environment and Quality, said: “There are many factors outside of our control which can affect the quality of bathing water but despite a summer of long periods of torrential rain, Southern Water’s ongoing environmental improvement programme has continued to benefit the water around our coastline.

 “We are delighted that all the beaches in our region have met European standards.”

Before Southern Water began its multi-million pound investment programme to improve the quality of seawater in 1988, only 41 per cent of beaches in its region passed the mandatory standard.

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