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15 May 2017, 12:50
Seven beaches across the south of England - including Deal Castle, Leysdown and Minster Leas in Kent - are to get a share of £31m to help improve water quality.
Southern Water will work alongside local authorities and others for the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme to bring bathing water quality at the sites up to Excellent Standard.
It follows a year of detailed investigations by a team of experts, including coastal sampling, microbial (DNA) source tracing and CCTV surveys.
Southern Water's region includes more than 700 miles of coastline - which is the lifeblood of many communities whether through tourism, business or leisure.
Paul Kent, from Southern Water, has overseen the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme. He said: "We’re immensely proud of this groundbreaking project.
"Our customers asked us to help boost more bathing waters in the region up to Excellent standard and, with the support of local authorities and others, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
"Alongside the ‘Magnificent Seven’, we’ve also earmarked some additional funding at a further six bathing waters which have a chance of achieving Excellent, if the relevant local authorities are also willing to pursue improvements.
"We're thrilled to be playing such an active part in protecting and enhancing our region's bathing waters."
Over recent years, the company has invested millions of pounds to reduce the impact of its wastewater network on bathing water quality. However, bathing water is also affected by a range of other sources of pollution such as contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.