Water quality projects

Find out about local projects helping to improve water quality.

We work in partnership with Southern Water on projects that:

  • improve how wastewater is managed and
  • raise awareness of issues that might impact water quality. 

This means everyone can make an informed decision about when to use our bathing waters.


Southern Water run Beachbuoy – a free, interactive, and online map where you can see updates on storm releases near you.

This is constantly being improved to provide more accurate information on whether a storm release has impacted the water quality.

Citizen science water testing

Southern Water is loaning us a water testing device to carry out water quality testing in the district. Some of our staff and volunteers from Save Our Seas Whitstable will be trained to use the device and carry out tests together for an initial period. 

The data is shared with all partners, including The Environment Agency, and there are investigations into any high readings.

Live water testing buoy

Southern Water have installed a first-of-its-kind water testing buoy off Tankerton shore. The buoy uses technology to measure the quality of the seawater every few minutes. The data is then used to populate real-time information on the water.

Pathfinder projects

Southern Water is working with the community in the Whitstable area to find solutions to reduce the amount of rain that runs off roads and buildings into our systems during heavy spells of rain.

This includes a 'Slow the Flow' scheme to install things like water butts or planters on properties with large roofs and down pipes that enter the sewer network to help slow the amount of water entering at one time.

Other options being explored are installing sustainable drainage options like trees, tree pits, and rain gardens. 

Find out more about the pathfinder projects

Storm overflows

During heavy rain, local sewer networks can struggle to cope with the amount of water entering pipes and storage tanks.

To protect homes, schools, and businesses from flooding, storm overflows kick in to release excess water into the sea. These automatic pressure valves are part of the design of the network and are regulated by the Environment Agency.

The water released through storm overflows is heavily diluted – up to 95 percent rainwater. However, as climate change causes more extreme weather events and more land is covered in hard, non-porous surfaces which leads to greater volumes of rain runoff into the network, we need to act now to reduce the use of overflows.

Swalecliffe wastewater treatment works

Southern Water is spending over £25 million on upgrades at its Swalecliffe wastewater treatment works.

These upgrades will improve the way sewage flows are managed when they are received at the site.

The upgrades include replacing the inlet screens, which remove all the things that won’t biodegrade, such as rubbish, sticks and even mobile phones!

The new screens will mean wastewater flows can be processed faster, helping to manage high volumes of water during a storm.

A two-year construction programme to replace the short sea outfall pipe - where the waste flows into the sea - starts in 2023. This will help reduce storm flows more effectively and reduce flooding.