Scotland's worst bathing waters risk losing status

A popular beach on the Kirkcudbrightshire coast could lose its official status after four dismal ratings in a row.

Dhoon Bay will be stripped of its ranking if the quality of the water does now improve by the end of the 2022 bathing season.

The bay – which is hugely popular with locals and holidaymakers staying at nearby caravan parks - has repeatedly been marked as 'poor' by SEPA.

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From June 1 to September 15, SEPA provides regular updates on bathing water quality with an overall classification being given at the end of bathing water season.

Under threat: Dhoon Bay in Kirkcudbrightshire
Pic by: Billy McCrorieUnder threat: Dhoon Bay in Kirkcudbrightshire
Pic by: Billy McCrorie
Under threat: Dhoon Bay in Kirkcudbrightshire Pic by: Billy McCrorie

Bathing waters include seas, inland lochs and rivers where a large number of bathers are expected.

If the Dhoon Bay is given a poor rating this September, it will lose its designated bathing water status.

People would still be able to enter the water but advice against bathing will be put up on the beach.

The Scottish Government has provided funding to help tackle the impact of human sewage on the water quality.

A major source of pollution for the water are private sewage systems, with no Scottish Water assets in the area.

Local community councils have been working with residents to ensure that septic tanks are emptied prior to the bathing season. Scottish Water is also offering a pre-season septic tank emptying service for residents in the area.

Additionally, an increase in campervan and motorhome tourism has heightened the issue

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Many farmers have adopted new practices and fenced off entire stretches of watercourses to exclude livestock.

Rob Morris, SEPA Senior Manager Environmental Performance, said: “We want to ensure that locals and visitors alike experience great water quality.

"Our aim is to see an improvement to at least “Sufficient” during the 2022 season.”

In the latest classifications established at the end of the 2021 season, which will last throughout the 2022 wild swimming period, Dhoon Bay was the only one to be marked as poor.

However, 17 bathing waters were given the second-lowest status of 'sufficient'.

SEPA also provides regular updates on water quality and has the power to issue fines for any illegal discharge of sewage or other pollution.



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