Cleethorpes Beach at sunrise

Anglian Water will plough £1.8 million into the Cleethorpes and Humberston Fitties coastline over the next five years as part of its ongoing commitment to help improve the cleanliness of the local bathing waters.

£1.6m will be spent at the water recycling centre at Newton Marsh to ensure bathing water quality in the out-of-season months of October, March and April is as good as it is during the peak summer bathing season.

Cleethorpes and Humberston Fitties are both popular with watersports enthusiasts during the off season, and the installation of additional treatment at the plant will mean people can continue to use the bathing waters with peace of mind. The upgrades to the Newton Marsh Water Recycling Centre will be completed by April 2016.

In addition to this upgrade, a dedicated Coastal Catchment Manager has been recruited for Lincolnshire to accelerate local partnerships and projects; money will also be spent on upgrading parts of the sewer network and on tackling third party pollution that has a major impact on the quality of bathing waters.

Third party, or diffuse pollution, has a serious impact on the cleanliness of bathing waters and is the main cause of poor bathing water quality in the Eastern region. It includes pollutants from urban areas, farmland and other sources such as dog mess and misconnected drains which are washed into the sea when it rains.

Jo Hayward, Anglian Water’s Coastal Catchment Manager in Lincolnshire, said: “Diffuse pollution by its very nature is a difficult jigsaw to piece together. Pollution can come from a variety of different sources and we have to work closely with other partners if we are to tackle the root causes.

“We’ve set aside £150,000 to enable us to do more partnership work with local authorities, the Environment Agency, and other local groups and to help pinpoint the local issues.”

Cllr David Watson, portfolio holder for Environment and Housing at NELC, said: “We’ve worked closely with Anglian Water and the Environment Agency to monitor the number of people in the water outside the peak summer season.

“The Cleethorpes coast is clearly very popular with kite surfers and other water sports enthusiasts and this welcome investment by Anglian Water will give them reassurance when in the water out of season.”

Jo continued: “This is by no means just a problem for Lincolnshire, but the specifics differ depending on the area. That’s why over the next five years we are making this substantial investment – to really understand the pollution sources at play and to make sure the bathing waters and beaches that we know are so loved by Cleethorpes and Humberston residents and visitors remain open and a main attraction for the town.

“For many years we’ve been committed to improving bathing waters along the East of England coastline. We’ve invested hundreds of millions of pounds in our own equipment to address the big issues affecting the quality of coastal bathing waters. Now, it’s the nitty gritty, hard-to-reach problems, like misconnected drains and surface water run-off that have a large cumulative impact on our bathing waters. It’s these we need to crack if we are to safeguard our beaches now and for the long term future.”

To help trace the sources of diffuse pollution, Anglian Water will be pioneering an approach from the air using state-of-the-art aerial surveys to identify where sources of pollution are entering marine waters. This will accompany more traditional investigative techniques such as CCTV surveys, dye tracing, sampling and on-foot surveys of the coastal catchment.

How can customers do their bit for their bathing waters?

Misconnections are one of the main culprits of poor bathing water quality and often occur because of poor quality building works and plumbing mistakes. These have a devastating impact on the cleanliness of local rivers and much-loved bathing waters as dirty water from toilets, sinks, showers, washing machines and dishwashers ends up in the surface water sewer, rather than the foul sewer, and from there flows directly into rivers and the sea.

Jo added: “The difficulty with misconnected drains is that many homeowners are completely unaware of the pollution being caused by their every flush. Many are innocent bystanders. That’s why it’s so important that we raise awareness and encourage people to only employ approved plumbers for any home improvements.

“Although misconnections aren’t always visible above ground we’d still encourage customers to give their exterior wastewater pipes a ‘once-over’. If they spot anything unusual, for instance if their rainwater guttering downpipe is feeding into the same drain as their sink or toilet pipe, that could mean there’s a misconnection and we’d urge them to let us know.”