A COUNCIL has launched a campaign for a stretch of its beach to receive national recognition to “put pressure” on water companies to stop “unacceptable” discharges of sewage into the sea.
Worthing Borough Council plans to ask the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to designate a stretch of coast adjacent to Beach House Park as bathing water if the public supports the idea.
Designated bathing water status means the Environment Agency is required to test the water quality to determine if bacteria including E. coli and intestinal enterococci are present.
Even in areas with designated bathing waters, information on water quality and sources of pollution must be displayed during the bathing season from May to September.
Worthing currently has only one designated bathing area, which is to the south of Heene Terrace.
Whilst Southwick, Shoreham Beach and Lancing all have designated bathing waters.
The move comes after recent controversy following the release of sewage on 13 beaches across Sussex last week due to heavy rain.
Councilor Vicki Wells, Worthing’s Environment Secretary, said the releases were “unjustifiable” and “unacceptable”.
“Our coast is a treasure for all to enjoy,” she said.
“Understanding water quality is critical to ensuring Worthing’s sea is as clean as it could and should be.
“Unacceptable releases of wastewater containing harmful bacteria and other pollutants into this environment are totally unacceptable in the 21st century.
“Decades of underinvestment in water utility infrastructure and an environmental law that leaves polluting water companies unaccountable mean that policing these waterways is more important than ever.
“Obtaining bathing water designation at Beach House Park will bring a new focus and commitment to improving our water quality and I look forward to working with the Environment Agency and Southern Water to ensure this is achieved.”
For Worthing Borough Council’s bid to be successful, Council must demonstrate to Defra that the sea off the stretch of beach from York Road to the Esplanade is well used by bathers, paddlers and water sports enthusiasts such as paddle boarders.
The Council must also be able to demonstrate that the designation as bathing water has the support of the public.
Volunteers help collect the required data.
Members of Worthing Sea Sploshers and students from St Oscar Romero Catholic School have recorded the number of people using the sea in the proposed locations for bathing water status.
In addition, the council has launched a four-week consultation to encourage people to comment on the plans, ending Tuesday 20 September.
A Southern Water spokeswoman said storm overflows are necessary during periods of heavy rains to prevent flooding and that runoff is “heavily diluted” and “typically 95 percent rainwater.”
“We are committed to significantly reducing storm overflows and are implementing innovative pilot projects across the region to reduce the amount of precipitation entering our combined sewers by 2030,” she said.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20759552.worthing-borough-councils-plan-improve-seawater-quality/?ref=rss Worthing Borough Council’s plan to improve seawater quality