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Water Quality - River Adur

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How we sample

Adur & Worthing Councils undertake sampling of the bacteriological quality of the River Adur.

Water samples are obtained by securing sterile bottles in a cage and lowering this on a line into the river. The sample bottles are placed in a cooler box to preserve the bacteria present in the water. The cooler box is then couriered to the laboratories of the Health Protection Agency in Porton Down, who analyse the samples for the presence of potentially harmful bacteria such as E.Coli. The results are provided as a coliform count per 100ml of the sample; therefore the higher the count then the poorer the water quality.

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Why are we sampling?

The Environment Agency sample seawater quality at Southwick, Lancing and Worthing (please see the Bathing Water page). They also sample freshwater quality of the River Adur at various locations upstream from Beeding (in Horsham district).

Adur & Worthing Councils monitor the quality of the transitional water (the estuary) in between. We sample here in the interests of public health because this part of the river is used for leisure activities such as canoeing.

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Where we sample

Samples are collected monthly from:

These locations are the only bridges with public access and they allow samples to be collected from the deeper channels in the river. This is beneficial if sampling at lower tides and it enables the water to be collected without unsettling the riverbed. This means that the sample will just contain bacteria found in the water and not anything from the river sediment or mud. We are only interested in bacteria levels within the water as this can be easily ingested by people undertaking leisure activities.

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No guidance is currently available for the quality of transitional waters and so seawater bathing levels are used to gauge the condition of the estuary. It is recognised that bathing in the river is uncommon compared with the sea, but prudence is given to figures above 2,000 per 100ml.

If you would like a copy of the water sampling results dating then please contact the Public Health & Regulation Team.

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Further information

For further information please visit the Environment Agency section of the website.

Alternatively, you can contact the Environment Agency - details on the website.

For more information about the River Adur or the seafront see our Seafront and River Adur webpages.

See also: Flooding - Preparing for Emergencies / Dealing with severe weather

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