How will I know if the water quality is good on a beach?

You can find out about the water quality on designated bathing water beaches on the Cornwall Land, Air and Water website.They provide information about Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) discharge events and the Environment Agency's Polution Risk Forecasting (PRF) notifications. The same information is also provided by Surfers Against Sewage through their Safer Seas Service.

If you are just interested in knowing when a CSO is discharging this information is provided by BeachLive. If you just want to know when rainfall could be impacting on bathing water quality please refer to Pollution Risk Forecasting list provided by the Environment Agency.

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If a notification is issued by either SWW or the EA the Council will work with local champions at the beach who will put a warning poster in bespoke Bathing Water Quality signage. This sign will be found on the main access onto each bathing water beach.

When you are on the beach please be aware that the quality of streams and rivers flowing onto a beach may not be the same as the sea water. Streams and rivers can sometimes contain a range of bacteria and viruses, especially during and following heavy rain, some of which may cause illness. It is not possible to tell by looking at a river or stream whether the water contains anything that could be harmful to human health. Therefore when visiting the beach and playing in the water you are advised to follow some simple steps.

  • Do not drink from rivers or streams that flow onto the beach even if they look clean.
  • Avoid splashing stream water into your mouth.
  • Wash hands carefully in clean water or wipe with antiseptic wipes/fluid before eating.
  • Observe local beach safety and water quality information.