Why do water companies release into the environment?
Outfalls are part of the design of the sewers and are regulated by the Environment Agency. They’re used in areas where the sewers were built to carry both wastewater and rainwater away from communities. They help to protect homes and communities from flooding and pollution by stopping the sewers backing-up or overflowing during large storms or prolonged showers.
Find out more about why combined sewer overflows (CSOs) exist, how they work and what we’re doing to reduce their impact.
Beachbuoy is always improving
We’ve recently made changes to the appearance of Beachbuoy to make the map easier to understand. These changes are part of an ongoing journey – and more improvements are on the way.
In the short-term, we’ll be carrying out work on our sites and systems over winter 2021 to improve the accuracy of our reporting. We’ll also be launching a survey so you can tell us what you think and what you’d like to see change.
In the longer-term, we’re working on some new features ready for the 2022 Bathing Water season. These include adding some in-land bathing waters to the map, as well as sharing data on the volume of each release. We’re also working with others to develop a water quality reporting tool for 2023.
How to use Beachbuoy
The key on the interactive map explains how the icons change to show what’s happening across our region.
We’ve recently updated the icons. Now, each of our region’s designated bathing waters or recreational harbours is represented by a location pin. We’ve also added two new sets of icons to give you even more information about what’s happening near you:
- Unverified release – A white icon will now show on the map until a release has been verified. If we find a release has occurred, the icon will go red. If we find a release has not occurred, the icon will go back to blue.
- Monitoring under maintenance – If a monitoring system needs maintenance, reporting for that bathing site or outfall may be temporarily disrupted. You can now tell if a system is under maintenance by looking for a spanner icon or grey circle.
You can also click on each icon to reveal more information, including a seven day review that lets you know what’s happened in the past week. Find out more about how we determine which outfall affects each Beachbuoy location.
Please bear in mind, a release doesn’t automatically affect the water quality or impact the environment. The amount released and how heavily diluted by surface water the release is can vary. Many factors other than CSO releases can affect water quality too – including agriculture, wildlife and marine vessels. However, in our most recent bathing water results, bathing waters in our region achieved their highest ever ratings in Defra’s summer sampling regime.
Please note: Southern Water can’t make any safety recommendations for water users. Beachbuoy is simply a release reporting tool – users are advised to use their own discretion when entering the water.
By subscribing to this service, you acknowledge that we will be processing personally identifiable information about you in line with our Privacy Notice and in particular, to send you communications which you have requested in relation to this service.