Improving bathing water quality - a coast to boast about.

The Yorkshire Bathing Water Partnership is a multi-agency group comprising the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, local councils and Welcome to Yorkshire.  Formed in 2010 the group has been working to improve bathing water quality at Yorkshire's 20 designated bathing beaches to get ready for new, more stringent European standards.

The group identified misconnections as a key polluter of bathing waters.  Following detailed modelling the partnership were able to identify which beaches may be suffering from misconnections.  The modelling, funded by Yorkshire Water at a cost of around £5 million highlighted several watercourses which run onto bathing beaches as carrying bacteria to the bathing beaches.  Watercourse samples were then taken to narrow-down the source of this bacteria near to residential areas.  The partnership then agreed for the water company to fund some further investigations which would physically look into the drainage systems in these residential areas.

Contractors, DrainsAid, were appointed to survey the sewers with remote cameras and harmless dye, looking for instances of misconnections.  The results were fed-back to the partnership for the local authorities to take-up with the individual property owners.  Approximately 25 cross-connections were identified along the Yorkshire coast. The misconnections work is still ongoing and the partnership is still working hard to ensure that they are solved before the start of the bathing season.