Can you help solve the mystery of contamination in Sidmouth stream?

Environment Agency officers are investigating the source of contamination in a Sidmouth stream

Environment Agency officers are investigating the source of contamination in a Sidmouth stream - Credit: Archant

Environment Agency says pollution could threaten bathing water quality

Environment Agency officers are investigating the source of contamination in a Sidmouth stream

Environment Agency officers are investigating the source of contamination in a Sidmouth stream - Credit: Archant

Environment Agency (EA) officers have so far failed to find the source of contamination in a stream that runs straight onto Sidmouth beach.

Teams were in the town this week attempting to identify the cause of pollution that they say could adversely affect bathing water quality.

Officers are now appealing to members of the public to help identify wipes found in the stream, which they believe may be related to the contamination.

An EA spokesperson said: “We are doing some investigative work to identify the source of contamination in a stream that discharges to the beach.”


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The agency told the Herald as it went to press that work with dye has failed to identify any mis-connections to the supply that may have explained the pollution. Officers hope the results of bacteria samples will help to narrow down the area of interest in the next couple of days.

The water quality at Sidmouth beach scores consistently well with inspectors and was rated ‘high’ in 2015.

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Guy Russell owns Jurassic Paddle Sports and operates from Sidmouth’s shore. He said any adverse effect on the quality of the seawater would certainly be a problem for his business, as well as all other beach users. He praised the EA for taking the matter seriously. “If I was at all concerned I would not let anyone go into the sea. Safety always comes first,” said Guy, also a member of Sidmouth Lifeboat team. “Sidmouth has always been very nice and clean – we have always been lucky with water quality.”

Guy said he will be keeping a careful watch on the situation and urged anyone who notices a problem with the water to report it to him, the lifeboat station, or directly to the EA.

Councillor Matt Booth, one of the organisers of the upcoming Sea Fest, which celebrates Sidmouth’s coastal community, said that, if the mystery of the contamination is not solved, it is something that will be brought up with the many seafaring organisations and groups involved in the festival.

The EA is circulating photos of the wipes in efforts to identify the source of the problem.

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