Battling the bird could be next step to improve our bathing water

Worthing beach

Gull-proof bins and bird kites could be the next weapon to improve the quality of bathing water at Worthing.

The measures could be introduced as part of Southern Water’s ground-breaking £31.5m Bathing Water Enhancement Programme which Adur and Worthing Councils are supporting.

Southern Water has been working with Councils and Selsey Town Council to help improve the water quality at Worthing, Middleton-on-Sea and Selsey and all of which are benefitting from the multi-million-pound investment across the region to bring seven bathing waters’ quality up to an ‘Excellent’ standard by 2020.

Recent years have seen Southern Water invest millions on its wastewater network in order to reduce its impact on bathing water quality. However, bathing water is also affected by a range of other sources of pollution such as contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.

Officers from Worthing Borough Council have been working with Southern Water to identify misconnections – waste water pipes connected to the wrong network and thus flowing directly out to sea – at private businesses and households

Improvements made in Sussex so far include:

  • Two public misconnections have been identified in Worthing will have all been rectified by the end of July;
  • No pumping station upgrades are needed in Worthing and Middleton-on-Sea but a pumping station in Selsey will be upgraded will begin in the next few months;
  • Storage capacity work and network improvements at Selsey are being investigated and will be implemented in Autumn 2017;
  • Southern Water’s sewer maintenance and replacement programme has also started in all three areas, with all projects already completed.

Gull-proof bins and bird kites are being discussed and, if considered worthwhile, will be installed shortly. The measures will stop birds from flocking near bathing waters eating from the bins and defecating. Bird and animal faeces contain a much higher level of bacteria which can severely affect bathing water quality.

In addition further funding from Southern Water will now work with officers from Adur District Council to identify possible misconnections on Shoreham Beach and look at other measures including education programmes for dog walkers and protection from bird waste measures.

Worthing Borough Council’s Executive Member for Digital and Environmental Services, Cllr Edward Crouch said: “This has been a good example of cooperation between ourselves and Southern Water with the common aim of improving our bathing water. The results have already been impressive.

“We have a fantastic seaside offering here in Worthing and the better our water becomes the better the offer becomes for residents and visitors.”

Earlier this month it was announced that Worthing beach has been recognised as one of the best in the country after winning the coveted Seaside Award for the second year running.

Overseen by Keep Britain Tidy, the honour recognises and rewards beaches that achieve the highest standards of beach management and, in the case of bathing beaches, meet the required standards for water quality.

Chris O’Grady, Southern Water’s Senior Project Manager for the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme, said: “We’re delighted with the progress we’re making in improving the quality of our magnificent seven’s bathing waters.

“It’s a ground-breaking project and is the result of how we’re responding to our customers’ wishes for us to help boost more bathing waters in the region up to an Excellent standard.”


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