The news that Lunan Bay has failed the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) 2014 bathing water test should not be regarded as a disaster, or a sign that the bay is currently unsafe,
There was only one test out of the 10 taken at which Lunan Bay failed, on August 11. And it is the first ‘fail’ in the Bay’s history of being tested.
The SEPA website states: “The exceedance at Lunan Bay was most likely attributable to higher levels of diffuse pollution run-off in the Lunan Water, caused by heavy rainfall in the preceding days before sampling was undertaken. Elevated rainfall levels across the area caused rivers to be in spate, with an associated increase in the diffuse pollution run-off which can impact upon bathing water quality.”
In other words, the cause was pollution being washed off fields and other areas.
The only other Scottish beach to fail was Heads of Ayr.
This is the last time reporting will take the format which has been used since the introduction of the current Bathing Water Directive 26 years ago.
All the sites originally designated in 1988, when records began, have now been brought up to the mandatory or guideline European water quality standard. This is a significant improvement from that first year, when 13 sites failed.
Calum McPhail, SEPA’s Head of Environmental Quality, said: “While we are disappointed that two bathing waters failed this year, I think it’s important, as we move towards the revised standards and classifications in the new Directive next year, to look at how far we’ve come in understanding the environment and tackling the pressures on water quality. Whether it’s working with farmers and land managers to reduce agricultural run-off or working with Scottish Water to identify improvements to their infrastructure, every year has brought further steps towards better water quality.
“Access to water quality information for the public has never been better. From 1988 when sample results were only reported as an end of season outcome, now there are electronic information signs at 23 beaches, as well as SEPA’s website, smartphone app and Beachline number, which all provide on-the-day water quality predictions.”
Results for individual beaches are at www.sepa.org.uk and follow the links.