Blue Flags Keep Flying as Southern Water Splashes out on Bathing Water

Beauty of the beach

Southern Water launches refreshed 'Beauty of the Beach' campaign and Bathing Water Enhancement Programme works near to completion Eleven new beaches achieved the Seaside Award Today (Wednesday 15 May) marks the start of the 2019 bathing season and Southern Water is marking the occasion by launching a refresh of its 'Beauty of the Beach' campaign.

Following two very successful years of working closely with the Environment Agency, local councils and environmental and wildlife groups, Southern Water has produced a new suite of assets to share with partner organisations. The packs are designed to help encourage everyone to play their part in looking after the region's amazing 700 miles of coastline.

This year there are 15 Blue Flag beaches in the areas – the same as last year – but 11 new beaches have achieved the Seaside Award bringing the total to 32 from 21 last year.

The refresh comes as the company's ground-breaking £31.5m Bathing Water Enhancement Programme draws to a close.

Chris O’Grady, Southern Water’s, Senior Project Manager for the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme, said:

"We’ve had a really busy couple of years working towards completing all actions for the 2019 bathing season. I'm delighted to say we're almost there, with the vast majority of major works having been completed in all 'magnificent seven' locations.

“This was a brand new approach to improving the bathing waters in our region and was our response to our customers’ wishes for us to help boost more bathing waters in the region up to Excellent standard.

“Our plans for the other 17 bathing waters selected last year are progressing well, with action plans now in place and a number of projects already completed.

“We couldn't have got to where we are without such great support and collaboration with our local authority partners and we're very grateful to them. After all, our beaches are there for all of us to enjoy for both work and leisure and it's up to all of us to play our part in protecting and enhancing the beauty of the beach."

A new team hunting toilets, showers and washing machines which have accidentally been misconnected to the surface drain system has also been at work. Misconnection sends sewage and dirty water straight to the sea instead of to our wastewater treatment plants. In their first year the team has targeted enough misconnections to prevent 120,000 litres of foul water a year hitting our beaches.

In addition to the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme, Southern Water has invested millions of pounds in recent years on its wastewater network in order to reduce its impact on bathing water quality.

However, bathing water is also affected by a range of other sources of pollution such as contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.

The Bathing Water Enhancement Programme has carried out an extensive programme of work in all 'magnificent seven' areas, including identifying misconnected household appliances such as toilets, showers and washing machines; sewer rehab work; refurbishing pumping stations; working with farmers and landowners to minimise agricultural run-off and CCTV investigations.

ENDS

Notes to editors

• The seven bathing waters in the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme were selected following a year of detailed investigations by a team of experts, including coastal sampling, microbial (DNA) source tracing and CCTV surveys. The locations were:

Hampshire & the Isle of Wight

Shanklin

Sussex

Selsey

Worthing

Minster Leas

Kent

Leysdown

Middleton-on-Sea

Deal

• In addition to the original seven locations, a further 17 bathing waters were selected to receive additional funding, 14 of which were initially in the running for the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme. The work in these additional locations will include misconnections surveys and any correction work necessary, signage to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets and various measures to reduce the impact from birds. The 17 are:

Hampshire

Hill Head

Stokes Bay

Kent

Folkestone

St Mary’s Bay

Littlestone