Stream contamination has potential to adversely affect Sidmouth bathing water quality
PUBLISHED: 06:18 16 August 2016
Authority issues warning but says tests confirm ‘good’ rating remains
Contamination from a stream running directly onto Sidmouth beach has the potential to adversely affect bathing water quality.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) put up public advisory notices around a cordoned-off area near Bedford Steps this week, but stressed that tests to date confirm the ‘good’ classification of seawater remains.
The authority has been working with Environment Agency officers and Devon County Council to identify the source of pollution since a problem was first identified in April, but they have so far failed to find a suspected misconnection.
An EDDC spokesman said: “The water flowing from the culvert near the Bedford Steps onto the beach is from a local stream, but recent tests have shown that it is, from time to time, being contaminated with sewage.
“There is a small chance that this contamination may have the potential to adversely affect the bathing water quality at this beach, but, to date, no water quality warnings have been issued by the Environment Agency and tests have confirmed that bathing water quality here is still good.
“Investigations into the source of the contamination are ongoing but, for the time being, we have installed an enclosure to minimise the health and safety risks to beach users.”
Agencies are now checking the local sewerage system for a misconnection, which could occur if a waste water pipe is plumbed into surface water drains, allowing foul water to discharge directly into the environment.
Guy Russell owns Jurassic Paddle Sports and operates from Sidmouth’s shore.
He said he was on the beach every day and kept a close eye on the sea so he was confident there had been no change.
Mr Russell said he was not worried about the quality of the bathing water, which was always high.