The test for the 2013 bathing water has now been completed. There are currently three levels of testing: GUIDELINE (highest standard), MANDATORY (minimum requirement) and FAIL. This year for the first time ever Combe Martin has passed at the highest standard. From 2012 until 2015 all four years tests will be grouped together and then be classified under one of four headings:
The Environment Agency calculated in 2011 that Combe Martin would be classified as POOR and of nearly 500 bathing waters nationally was one of the ten worst.
If our water quality remains much the same for the next two years Combe Martin bathing water will be classed as GOOD when the assessment is carried out in 2015.
Water quality at Combe Martin has improved significantly over the past two seasons. This improvement is a testament to the hard work that everyone has put in – the Bathing Water Quality Standard Group, the Parish Council, the farming community, residents of Combe Martin, South West Water and last but not least the Environment Agency.
There are a number of planned improvements still to implement, including the £800,000+ to upgrade the three Combined Sewer Overflows in the village. The Parish Council is looking to implement a beach dog banning order from May to September before the start of the next bathing Season, these measures should help to further reduce contamination in the bathing water.
With the past wonderful summer, kayaks and dolphin in the bay, it is the goal of the Bathing Water Quality Group to try and push the standards up to EXCELLENT.
However, we are not out of the woods yet. Safeguarding bathing water quality is a long term commitment and we will all need to keep up our efforts over the next two years and beyond. Everyone can help by keeping both the River Umber and Rosea Stream (West Challacombe Water) clear of grass cuttings, rubbish and dog faeces.