Using the Bathing Water Quality Application

Using this application you can:

  • look up past and current water quality information about a bathing water
  • drill down into the water quality data and download it
  • create a personalised summary of today's bathing water quality situation

Finding a Bathing Water

Finding and selecting a bathing water can be done in two ways:


1. Start typing the name of a bathing water (beach), a local authority or a county screenshot showing use of search box to search for bathing water

Or you can type in a full postcode

2. As you type in the search box the names of all bathing waters, local authorities and counties that contain the search term so far will appear

3. At any point you can:

  • click on one of the bathing water names to make a choice
  • click on the 'show results on map' icon to show where the results are on the map
  • click on a bathing water 'globe' icon to see where it is on the map

Using the map

1. Zoom into the area you are interested in on the map. screenshot showing use of map to search for bathing water

  • you can use the map controls, mouse scroll wheel or touch screen drag and zoom

2. Click on the icon of a bathing water you want to select.

3. If you want to see the water quality information for that bathing water, click 'see bathing water details'.

Bathing Water Quality Profiles: Water Quality Information

Bathing water profile pages give summary information about a bathing water, its water quality and how this is managed. screenshot of bathing water quality profile page showing key features.

1 Basic summary information about the bathing water

  • The name and county of the Bathing Water
  • The current annual classification and any bathing water quality warnings
  • Description of the beach
  • Photograph of the beach
  • The official European Bathing Water Directive water quality classification for the current year.

2 A summary of the water quality at the bathing water, including any alerts for the day.

  • Daily pollution updates advise if there are any incidents that might affect bathing water quality.
  • The period during the year when the bathing water is monitored
  • How many days ago the last test sample was taken and the date and time it was taken. Clicking on the icon links to the sample data (see below).

3 Annual water quality assessments

  • These are the official water quality assessments for up to the last 4 years under the European Bathing Waters Directive Classification. Clicking on the classification will bring up an explanation. Clicking on the icon links to the sample data for the classification
  • This section will also show if a step change has taken place at the bathing water.

4 Site Details: Provides a range of information about the bathing water.

  • Local authority: the local authority for the bathing water
  • Bathing water controller
  • Year of designation: the year that the bathing water was designated
  • Water quality monitored: The period during the year when the bathing water is monitored
  • Water sampling point location: Geographic co-ordinates for the bathing water. These can be used by GPS or Satellite Navigation systems to locate the bathing water.
  • Map links: links to external maps of the location using Google Maps, Bing Maps, OpenStreetMap
  • Nearby bathing waters: lists the five nearest English bathing waters by distance as the crow flies
  • Link to this page: clicking on 'QR Code or Web Widget' opens up a dialogue box that has a QR code with the URL for this bathing water that can be used in print materials and a link to the Web Widget designer for this bathing water.

5 Location Map and Features

The map shows the location and the bathing water quality related features at the bathing water. Features include:

  • bathing water sampling location feature icon Bathing water sampling location point on the bathing water
  • river or stream intersection feature icon River or stream at the bathing water
  • emergency or storm overflow feature icon Emergency or storm overflow (see glossary)
  • surface water outfall feature icon Surface water outfall (see glossary)
  • treated sewage feature icon Treated sewage works outfall
  • disused feature icon Feature that is no longer active

6 Charts showing the bathing water sample results

screenshot of chart of bacterial concentrations.

7 Detailed Bathing Water and Water Catchment Information.

This section gives information about issues that affect the water quality and includes:

  • Catchment description
  • Step changes
  • Investigations statement
  • Pollution, its management and forecasting
  • Information about how the Environment Agency is working with water companies, local authorities, the farming community, industry, and others
  • Information about algae

Get the data behind the Water Quality Information

You can view and download the data behind the bathing water quality classifications and historical data about water quality warnings at bathing waters.

Getting to the Water Quality Data

There are three ways to get to the water quality data pages for bathing waters: screenshot of links to water quality data pages for a bathing water from a bathing water quality profile page.

  1. Clicking on the icons next to the most recent sample or the annual classifications at the top of a profile page, links to the water sample history data for the particular bathing water.
  2. The Get the data link on the main menu - this will let you get to and download data for all designated bathing waters in England.
  3. Clicking on the Linked-data connection links at the bottom of a profile page. These link to the various kinds of data that are available for a bathing water. See the using the bathing water quality Application Programming Interface (API). See API documentation for more details.

screenshot of links to linked data connections

Water Quality Data Pages

You can view data about individual bathing waters or about groups of bathing waters.

Individual Bathing Waters – Sample History Data

Clicking on the icons next to the most recent sample or the annual classifications at the top of a profile page, links to the sample data for the particular bathing water.

screenshot of data plots of bacterial concentrations on the graphs of water quality data section

There are two types of graph for each year:

  • Scatter plots of showing the bacterial concentrations of intestinal enterococci (colonies per 100ml) and Escherichia coli (colonies per 100ml).
  • Calendar plots showing the day when each sample was taken and the result of the measurement for both intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli (colonies per 100ml). The size of the circles indicating the relative number of colonies per 100ml.

See the understanding the data page for how to interpret the data in these charts

Clicking on the Get the data or Download the data links at the top of the page both link to the main Get the data pages, where other data can be downloaded, including a history of water quality warnings as well as downloading the data in spreadsheet and other formats.

At the bottom of the page is a table containing the bacterial concentrations in for both intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli (colonies per 100ml). In addition it has columns indicating whether a sample taken was disregardable and if so if it was disregarded as part of the European Bathing Water Directive water quality classification.

screenshot of table of bacterial concentrations water quality data section

Get the data – view and download data about one or more bathing waters

screenshot of data main data pages.

From these pages you can search for and view data for individual or groups of bathing waters.

1. Selecting Bathing Waters

  • If you came to the page via the icons on a bathing water profile page, that bathing water will be pre-selected
  • The selection of bathing waters can be made by via the list in A that contains names of:
    1. individual bathing waters – selects the individual bathing water
    2. districts or boroughs – selects all bathing waters in the district or borough
    3. counties – selects all bathing waters in the county
    4. water companies – selects all the bathing waters within a water company area
  • Clicking on a name will select (or unselect) all of the bathing waters in that category. Multiple selections can be made. The selections will be highlighted in orange on the map B
  • The search box C can be used to filter the list the names. Start typing and the list will be filtered to contain only names that contain the search term so far
  • The radio buttons B can be used to filter the list the names. Clicking on a catagory will filter the list to only contain those items
  • The map B can also be used to select and unselect bathing waters
  • The reset selection button E will clear a search at any time.

2. Once bathing waters are selected. Data can be viewed and bookmarked (and downloaded - see below)

screenshot of links to data sections

  • Compare sites – comparative table that shows key data for all bathing waters selected
  • PRF history – history of Pollution Risk Forecasts for all bathing waters selected
  • Pollution incidents history – history of pollution incidents for all bathing selected.
  • Sample History – History of sample results. Shows bacterial concentration charts and data table for all of the selected bathing waters (as for individual bathing waters above) if 20 or fewer bathing waters are selected. If more than 20 bathing waters are selected only the data table is shown. For years prior to 2015, the classifications under the 1976 Bathing Water Directive are provided above each year's graphs. When data is downloaded – see below – data from 1998 to 2011 (where data is available) are measures under the 1976 Bathing Water Directive, total coliform (colonies per 100ml), faecal coliform (colonies per 100ml), faecal streptococci (colonies per 100ml) and entrovirus (colonies per 100ml)
  • Bookmarking – You can bookmark or save any of the pages above once created and return to it at any time to see the latest data or situation for your chosen group of bathing waters.

Downloading the Data

screenshot of example bathing data download page

  • The final option allows downloading of the data in a CSV (spreadsheet) format.
  • Select the type of data required
    1. Types of data from the tick boxes
    2. Start date from which data is required via the dropdown list
  • Click Download archive file and a zip file will be downloaded containing csv (spreadsheet) format files for each of the types of data.