Bathing water quality - Seawater

We work with other agencies, including Southern Water and the Environment Agency, to ensure we can protect and improve the quality of our coastal bathing waters.

How bathing water quality is monitored

The Environment Agency takes seawater samples every week during the summer bathing season (May to September). These are then analysed and the results are used to help classify the bathing water quality as either excellent, good, sufficient or poor. This regular monitoring helps protect public health and identify any areas where water quality needs to be improved. 

We use these results to update bathing water quality public information signs each week. These signs can be found at the following locations:

  • next to Perch café, Lancing Beach Green
  • on the Coastguard south of Ferry Road, Shoreham Beach
  • in the car park next to Carats Café, Southwick
  • on the Beach Office notice board on the beach opposite Heene Terrace, Worthing

What is measured

The Environment Agency test seawater for bacteria to identify Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Intestinal Enterococci (colonies per 100ml). 

These bacteria can be found in faecal matter. Their presence may suggest the water has recently been contaminated with sewage or livestock waste.

Where samples are taken

Samples are collected from four sample sites along the Adur and Worthing coastline:


Bathing water quality - Good (2 star)

Bathing water quality: GOOD

Bathing water quality at Lancing can be affected by the River Adur and the Teville Stream, particularly after heavy rainfall. There is also a surface water outfall to the eastern side of the beach which operates after heavy rainfall, but is not known to affect water quality. Large amounts of seaweed can often be found here. 

Shoreham Beach

Bathing water quality - Excellent (3 star)

Bathing water quality: EXCELLENT

Bathing water quality at Shoreham Beach can be affected by the River Adur that enters the sea at Shoreham Harbour, east of the bathing water, particularly after rainfall. Surface water outfalls near Lancing operate after heavy rainfall, but these are not known to affect bathing water quality. This beach can become covered by large amounts of seaweed.


Bathing water quality - Excellent (3 star)

Bathing water quality: EXCELLENT

Water quality at Southwick can be affected by the River Adur that enters the sea west of the bathing water at Shoreham Harbour, particularly after rainfall. A power plant outfall discharges cooling water to the east of the beach and there are a number of other industrial off-shore outfalls along this section of coast. None of these are known to affect bathing water quality at Southwick.


Bathing water quality - Sufficient (1 star)

Bathing water quality: SUFFICIENT

Bathing water quality at Worthing can be affected by surface water and urban drainage during and after heavy rainfall. 

Environment Agency pollution risk forecasts:

Note: These forecasts are only updated from 1st May to 30th September each year.

  • Lancing, Beach Green prediction:
    30/09/21 8:30am - No warnings in place (Expires: 01/10/21 8:29am)
  • Worthing prediction:
    30/09/21 8:30am - No warnings in place (Expires: 01/10/21 8:29am)

If there is a risk of reduced water quality due to heavy rain or potential contamination signs will be displayed at both Lancing and Worthing. 

The Safer Seas Service app provides daily pollution risk alerts, based on reports from the Environment Agency. Download it for free on the Safer Seas Service website.

Other information

Is it safe to collect and eat shellfish from Adur and Worthing beaches?

There are no designated shellfisheries around Adur and Worthing and as such no sampling is undertaken to assess the suitability of shellfish for consumption.

River Adur

See the River Adur water sampling page for more information.

Back to top

Page last updated: 05 May 2021

Back to top