Is my local waterway clean enough to swim in ?
The best way of doing this is to ask for the water quality records of your stretch from the environment agency and then compare then to the Blue Flag guidelines below.
If it matches either the green or amber symbols its ok. (Please note these are only biological pollutants they do not cover chemical pollutants. So if the water looks, smells or tastes strange do not go in, but inform the environment agency on 0800 60 70 80)
The bathing water quality at all Blue Flag Award beaches meet the legislation's guidline standards, based on the Bathing Water Directive 76/160/EEC. In the UK the water quality is tested every week during the bathing season and the main results displayed at award beaches along with summary details for previous years.
The guideline, or recommended, standards consider faecal coliform, total coliform and faecal streptococci:
Total coliform no more than: 500 per 100 ml
Faecal coliform no more than: 100 per 100 ml
Faecal streptococci no more than: 100 per 100 ml
To achieve this overall result for a season 80% of all the samples (16 out of 20) must be equal to, or better than, the above standards for total and faecal coliform and 90% (18 out of 20) must be equal to, or better than, the above standard for faecal streptococci. The water must also comply with the legal minimum standard. It is this guideline standard that is required for a Blue Flag at a resort beach.The mandatory, or legal minimum, standards consider faecal coliform and total coliform:
Total coliform no more than: 10,000 per 100 ml
Faecal coliform no more than: 2,000 per 100 ml
To achieve this overall result for a season 95% of all the samples (19 out of 20) must be equal to, or better than, the above standards.The test(s) failed the legal mandatory standards.