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£1.6million boost for bathing water quality in the South West

17th June 2021

Bathing water quality at four of the region’s beaches is set to improve following a £1.6million investment by South West Water.

The projects, which were due for completion by the end of March 2025, were brought forward and completed ahead of this summer.

The four beaches are Seaton, Portmellon and Par Sands in Cornwall and Goodrington in Devon.

South West Water’s Engineering Director, Matt Crabtree, said: “We care deeply about sustainability and take our guardianship of the natural environment very seriously and so it’s great that the team were able to accelerate these improvements.

“We are currently investing over £150m in our largest environmental programme for 15 years. This includes significant investment to improve bathing and river water quality.

“We’re proud of our bathing water performance in the south west, where over 98% of beaches meet strict quality standards with 85% rated as ‘excellent’, and this major investment will help improve bathing water quality yet further at four of our region’s beautiful beaches.

“But, as our investigations at Goodrington show, we’ve all got a part to play. Everyone can help protect bathing water quality by only flushing the 3Ps – pee, paper and poo – to help reduce blockages and sewer flooding, as well as bagging and binning dog poo and disposing of other waste responsibly.”

The Environment Agency’s Bruce Newport, Area Environment Manager, said: “We are delighted to see the sewer improvements made by South West Water ahead of this summer. We know there is a long way to go and ask householders, farmers and businesses to ensure their waste water does not enter our rivers and streams which all end up in the sea and foul our beautiful coast.”

The projects

Seaton (Cornwall): We have removed some highways and land drainage from the combined sewerage network. This will reduce the number of storm overflows during extremely wet weather. We’ll be making further improvements to our network after this year’s bathing water season, when visitor numbers are lower and we’ll cause less disruption.

Portmellon: We have decommissioned Gorran Churchtown Wastewater Treatment Works, which used to discharge treated wastewater into the stream that flows across Portmellon beach. The works has been replaced with a pumping station which transfers wastewater to Gorran Haven Wastewater Treatment Works, where it is treated to the highest possible standards including ultraviolet disinfection to protect bathing water quality, and discharges via a sea outfall at Scurvella Point.

Par Sands: To improve bathing water quality at Par Sands, a 300-cubic metre storm storage tank has been constructed at Luxulyan Wastewater Treatment Works to reduce the number of storm overflows during extremely wet weather.

Goodrington: We have investigated potential sources of pollution in the Clennon Valley Stream, which enters the sea at Goodrington. This revealed that dog fouling and waste disposal are negatively impacting water quality in the stream. We have shared this information with the Environment Agency and Torbay Council so they can take appropriate measures to address these sources of pollution. Wider investigations into bathing water quality at Goodrington will be completed later this year.

Notes to editors

There are 150 designated bathing waters in South West Water’s service area.

In 2019 (the last year bathing waters were classified by the Environment Agency), the four bathing waters were classified as follows:

  • Seaton (Cornwall) – excellent
  • Portmellon – excellent
  • Par Sands – good
  • Goodrington – sufficient

Classifications were not made for the 2020 bathing water season due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the EA’s sampling programme.

For further information please contact:

South West Water