Checking the beach before you swim

By | Category: Travel news

beach

clean beach at Great Yarmouth

Bank holiday Monday’s are a sure-fire temptation for people to go to the beach. A hint of a sunny day is enough but will people venture in the water?

Traditionally, blue flag beaches were the safest bet and CD-Traveller has regularly carried stories about which beaches are proud awardees. But at the same time we have pointed out that the monitoring that has led to any beach getting an award is months old. The advice has been, check for yourself; see, smell and look. The problem with our advice has been that you can’t do any of these until you arrive by which time you might have wasted a lot of time getting to a particular beach only to turn away.

But a solution – a free solution – is now available. An app developed by the charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and funded by the Environment Agency gives bathers and surfers real-time warnings about pollution incidents on beaches. Created in response to concerns about a rise in sewage spills, which can cause illnesses for beach-goers, the service sends alerts or text messages about discharges of sewage and storm water at almost 250 beaches in England and Wales.

It accesses data from water companies on combined sewer overflows, which allow untreated sewage and storm water into the sea in periods of heavy rain to prevent sewers backing up. Tested on three beaches in Cornwall, the app service for both iPhone and Android smartphones, is available to download by clicking here or, in case of a problem, go to http://www.sas.org.uk/sewage-alert-service/

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