Is river to blame for bathing water woes?

Lancing beach. Photo by Derek Martin
Lancing beach. Photo by Derek Martin

LANCING’S bathing water could be being contaminated by the River Adur, according to the Environment Agency.

Rumours about the risk of the beach at Lancing being closed have recently resurfaced, though there are still no plans to officially close the water.

Minimum standards set by the EU are set to rise next year and Lancing could be among several beaches that struggle to hit new targets.

Many are wondering why Worthing beach, just a few miles up the coast, has been awarded Good Beach Guide certificate by the Marine Conservation Society, while Lancing is apparently heading for closure.

So far, the source of contamination is unknown, according to the EA, which has been sampling at Lancing beach throughout the 2014 bathing season.

But EA studies carried out in 2001 suggested that during certain tides and in wet weather, the River Adur could be partly to blame, which would explain why Worthing is unaffected.

The River Adur enters the sea at Shoreham Harbour, 5km east of Lancing beach.

The Teville Stream also enters the sea nearly 1km to the west, and both could ‘occasionally’ be a source of pollution in certain conditions,’ according to the EA.

The sewage treatment plant near Brooklands that discharges at two points, 5km and 7km from the shore, is often blamed for contamination, but the EA says ‘a high standard of treatment’ and their distance from the shore should protect the bathing water quality.

During the 2013 bathing season, studies showed the water at Lancing beach had reached higher standards on 16 of 20 occasions, only reaching minimum standards three times, and failing once, on September 9.

Further surveys are being carried out to pinpoint where the pollution is coming from, and these will continue until the end of the bathing season September.

A spokesman said the EA was working with Adur and Worthing councils, Lancing Parish Council and Southern Water to identify sources of pollution and reduce bacterial contamination.

The EA investigation will include a review of sewage spills from Southern Water.

“We are unable to rule out any sources at this point,” said the spokesman.