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Clacton beach contaminated with sewage bacteria ranked among seven worst in England for water quality

PUBLISHED: 15:57 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:57 16 November 2017

Environment Agency staff carrying out water tests at Groyne 41, a beach in Clacton. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Environment Agency staff carrying out water tests at Groyne 41, a beach in Clacton. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

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Bacteria from sewage is contaminating seawater at a popular Essex beach – making it one of just seven in England failing to meet minimum water quality standards.

High levels of E. coli were found in water at Groyne 41. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY High levels of E. coli were found in water at Groyne 41. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

High levels of E. coli were found at Groyne 41, the patch of water closest to Clacton Pier, according to tests conducted by the Environment Agency.

Ranked among the seven worst bathing water areas for the seventh year running this week, swimmers are continuing to be warned against going into the water at all at Groyne 41 to avoid developing stomach bugs – or even eye infections.

Senior environment officer John Daniels was one of the team carrying out water tests at Groyne 41 back in September.

He said: “We did find contamination in the groundwater around the pier area – we particularly concentrated on the water underneath the pier.

“What we were looking for in the bathing water was faecal bacteria, and we did find that this water was contaminated with sewage and therefore contained E. coli.

“The bugs themselves aren’t that dangerous but if people swim in the water they will get tummy bugs or eye infections.

“Most of Tendring’s beaches are clean and rated well but this particular area has been a hotspot of pollution for a number of years.

“The problem is proving very difficult to get to the bottom of.

“We just cannot find the smoking gun, if you like, which is most frustrating.

He added: “There is a notice at the beach that advises people against swimming.

“We’ll be revisiting the site over the next few months to investigate the problem further.”

Nine other beaches sampled in Tendring, including parts of Clacton, came back with either excellent or good ratings.

But Nigel Brown of Tendring District Council said efforts were being made to improve the poor quality of the water.

Council chiefs are continuing to work closely with the Environment Agency and Anglian Water to find the source of the ongoing problem.

He added: “It continues to be frustrating that Groyne 41 is classified as poor and we are striving to discover exactly what is causing this problem.

“A number of new measures will be undertaken in the close season in an effort to try to discover the reasons behind the poor water quality at this particular site.”

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