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Bathing water quality
Sanitary control organisation
Advices and recommendations
Water and health

Why and How is Bathing Water Quality Assessed?


Table of contents


Regulatory Developments

published on 04/16/2008

Bathing water compliance

Water deemed of excellent, good and sufficient quality are in compliance with the Directive.
Water deemed of poor quality may remain temporarily compliant with the Directive if management measures are taken, such as: identifying the causes of the poor quality, measures to reduce the pollution, prohibiting bathing or issuing recommendations not to bathe. However, if the water quality remains poor for five years in a row, bathing must be prohibited or not recommended as a standing measure, and it shall be considered that the said waters are permanently non-compliant.
Lastly, the Directive sets out the objective that all waters shall achieve at least sufficient quality by year 2015.

Establishing bathing water profiles

The profiles are an inventory and study of the pollution sources likely to affect water quality. They are drawn up on each bathing water zone, in order to assess vulnerability and potential risk of pollution. Studying the vulnerability of bathing makes it possible to strengthen the prevention tools available to managers. The long-term objective is that no pollutants be discharged into a bathing area. The profiles must be drawn up by 2011 at the latest.

Informing and involving the public

The Directive calls for greater public participation. For instance, when the list of bathing waters is drawn up, it shall be mandatory that the public be given the opportunity to make suggestions, comments and complaints.
It is provided that, near the bathing site, there shall be a listing of the site’s current classification, general non-technical description based on the bathing water profile and information in the event of an unusual situation (type of situation and expected duration) or permanent prohibition of bathing. In addition, other information shall have to be provided, particularly through Web sites. The said sites must include a list of bathing sites, the classification of the said waters over the past three years, their vulnerability profiles and monitoring results.