TOURISM bosses have suffered a blow after a beach failed a water standards test.
Seaham Beach is one of just seven out of 54 in the North East and Yorkshire not to pass the study, carried out by the Environment Agency throughout the bathing season.
Seaburn and Roker beach – which both lost their Blue Flag status earlier this year – both met the required standard in this latest investigation.
Environment Agency regional environmental planning manager, Dominic Shepherd said: “The results this year do highlight the need for more action to be taken to reduce all sources of bacterial pollution.
“The Environment Agency is working with water companies and local authorities to improve sewerage and drainage infrastructure, and with farmers to lessen the impact caused by farmland drainage.
“Generally speaking, bathing water quality is very good in Yorkshire and the North East, and the long-term trend is that quality is improving.
“It is also worth remembering that, while our samples were affected on some occasions by the exceptionally heavy rainfall, quality usually increases again within a short period after the heavy rainfall has passed.
The results show an overall drop in water quality from last year, when all beaches met the required standard.
Exceptionally high levels of rainfall is blamed for the drop, with pollution being washed from cities and rural areas into rivers and streams.
Mr Shepherd added: “It is also crucial that the public get involved by reporting pollution incidents, becoming involved in beach care campaigns, taking care of what they dispose of down the drains to prevent blockages, and ensuring their properties are properly connected to the sewerage and drainage system.”
The long-term trend shows that bathing water quality is improving.
Across England and Wales, 516 bathing waters were monitored during the season, of which 94 per cent reached the mandatory standard. Back in 1990, the pass rate was just 78 per cent.
Seaburn Beach was stripped of its Blue Flag status - the internationally recognised benchmark standard for beaches - in September, just months after Roker Beach lost its.
High levels of rainfall, which affected water samples, were blamed for the Seaburn loss while in Roker, there were three breaches of the maximum level of the bacteria intestinal enterococci, often found in human waste.
Beach clean appeals for help
WEARSIDERS are being encouraged to help tidy up the coastline.
Surfers Against Sewage are looking for Coastal Community Volunteers for when they bring their nationwide series of clean-ups to Whitburn Beach, on Saturday.
Running from 11am until 1pm, the event will see marine litter challenges and activities for young families and beachcombers to take part in.
Executive director of Surfers Against Sewage Hugo Tagholm said: “After the success of the North Devon Beach Clean Series in 2011, we are delighted to be working with The Crown Estate once again on the Autumn Beach Clean Series.
“Their support is helping us reach out to coastal communities across the UK to encourage people to get involved with protecting our precious beaches and marine environments from marine litter.”
The clean-up comes just a week after local businesses organised a similar event to clean Seaburn Beach.
To register email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01872 555953, or meet on the beach for an 11am start.