£2million investment announced by South West Water to help bring tourist village’s beach up to strict new European standards.
A £2million investment has been announced to improve the bathing water quality at Combe Martin Beach.
South West Water is to spend the money on creating two underground storm water storage tanks.
The work will begin this September and be completed by March, 2015. On top of this, new underground screening chambers will be provided for two existing storm overflow pipes and storm water storage tanks.
The good news was revealed at a meeting of the Bathing Water Quality Standard Group of local residents and business people, plus representatives from South West Water, Environment Agency and Combe Martin Parish Council.
The group has been campaigning for the past four years to get the improvement works carried out, which are seen as essential if the village is to see its beach meet the far stricter European water quality standards being introduced in 2015.
“Safeguarding bathing water quality is a long term commitment and we will all need to keep up our efforts over the next two years and beyond,” said Trevor Kibble from the group.
“Everyone can help by keeping the beach, the streets, the River Umber and Rosea Stream (West Challacombe Water) clear of grass cuttings, rubbish and dog faeces.
“We believe this is a tremendous boost for Combe Martin and the surrounding areas, the perfect tonic before the start of the holiday season.”
SWW project manager Mike Court said they had been working closely with the group and organisations to identify and tackle the issues affecting water quality, including urban drainage, agricultural run-off, birds and other wildlife, private sewers and homes wrongly connected to surface water drainage.
“We believe that, with the help of the local community, this major investment will help Combe Martin reach the new ‘sufficient’ standard when reporting under the revised Bathing Water Directive comes into force in 2015,” he said.
“You can help by checking your property is correctly connected to the foul drainage system – investigations by the Environment Agency and South West Water have identified that homes wrongly connected their plumbing into the surface water system are a source of faecal pollution to some of the bathing waters in the South West.
“Some drains lead directly to rivers and beaches, so don’t pour paints, oils or chemicals down them. Nappies, wipes, cotton buds, fat, oil and food waste can all block drains and cause pollution so dispose of them correctly.”