How we check the quality of our bathing water

Find out how bathing water is monitored and how you can check if it's safe to swim.

Bathing waters are beaches or inland waters used by a large number of bathers where water quality is monitored by the Environment Agency (EA) during the bathing season between 15 May and 30 September each year.

Our district has four areas designated as bathing waters:

The EA makes a daily Pollution Risk Forecast (PRF) at these sites based on the effects of rain, wind and sunlight on bathing water quality.

Check the quality of our bathing water

What a short-term pollution risk means

A short-term pollution risk means a predicted rise in the levels of bacteria that get washed into the sea from livestock, sewage and urban drainage that will affect bathing water for less than 72 hours.

A PRF warning is issued when there is a short-term pollution risk. We then put out warning signs at:

  • the lifeguard huts at Tankerton and Herne Bay Central beaches
  • the notice board near King's Hall at Herne Bay beach

Levels of bacteria typically return to normal after a day or so but it’s possible to have several warning days in a row.

What an abnormal situation means

When there is an event or combination of events of pollution that the EA does not expect to happen more than once every four years, it might declare an 'abnormal situation' and advise against swimming or bathing.

They will stop routine water monitoring until the situation is over.