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Since 1991 the beach at West Mersea has been designated as an 'Identified Bathing Water' in terms of the EU Directive 76/160/EEC.
Sampling is carried out by the Environment Agency two weeks before the start of the bathing season, 15 May to 30 September to make sure it meets with these standards.
Twenty samples are taken each year at a designated location opposite Fairhaven Avenue. Water is collected in pre-sterilised containers at a depth of 30cm below the surface.
The Environment Agency publishes current and previous year's sampling data available via the following link to their system
Bathing water profile for West Mersea
We also publish the results on a poster at three locations in West Mersea and outside the Town Hall in Colchester.
This legislation came about to protect the health of marine bathers throughout the European Community from sewage contaminated water. The UK has brought the standards into domestic law through the Bathing Water Regulations (SI 1991/1597).
The beach had previously been affected by discharges from the nearby sewage treatment works. However, following designation, Anglian Water carried out major works to improve the quality of the final effluent. This has resulted in the 'Good' or 'Excellent' standard of bathing water found since 1995.