Over 300 million gallons of sewage are discharged into the sea around the coastline of Britain each year. Raw or partially treated sewage contains a mixture of micro‐biological species, some of which are pathogens linked to many diseases. The most common gastro‐intestinal infections occur via the faecal‐oral route. A bather or water sports enthusiast could ingest enough pathogenic micro‐organisms from sewage contaminated sea water to cause illness. Legislation has been passed requiring the quality of bathing water to be tested so as to assess the risks to human health. Standards within the EC Bathing Water Directive remain above the level found to cause risks to human health, despite the existence of economically viable and environmentally sustainable technologies which would ensure safe levels in waste water discharges. Therefore even beaches which meet the standards of the Directive may not be as safe as they appear. This paper attempts to address the issue of Bathing Water Standards. It raises the questions of why standards are so low and looks at what is being done to improve coastal bathing water quality in the UK.
Parker, J. and Frost, S. (2000), "Environmental health aspects of coastal bathing water standards in the UK", Environmental Management and Health, Vol. 11 No. 5, pp. 447-454. https://doi.org/10.1108/09566160010351953
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