Acces to the Website of the Health's Ministry Back to home page home-page
Bathing water quality
Sanitary control organisation
Advices and recommendations
Water and health

Why and How is Bathing Water Quality Assessed?


Table of contents


Bathing Water Quality Assessment Procedures

published on 01/08/2008
Freshwater Beach in Ain
Knowing the quality of bathing water, whether saltwater or freshwater, is one way of preventing risks to bathers’ health.
Regular monitoring of bathing water quality makes it possible to learn the impacts of runoff upstream from the site and, in particular, to assess the possible dysfunctioning due to wastewater sanitation, dirty rainwater runoff, etc, which would influence the water quality at the bathing site. The knowledge derived from this process can provide a decision-making tool to the local authorities so that they can better control the causes of pollution resulting in particular from poorly-managed domestic wastewater.
The sanitary assessment of bathing water is carried out at the prefecture level, by the Department-Wide Directorates on Health and Social Affairs (DDASS/DSS/DSDS), decentralised services under the Ministry of Health:

Identifying bathing sites

Health inspections are carried out on all areas open to the public where bathing is usually engaged in by a large number of bathers and where bathing has not been prohibited by legal order. Bathing areas are defined jointly by the bathing area manager (private individual, town government, etc.) and DDASS.
In practice, these are areas visited non-occasionally, where the sudden influx of people during the bathing season exceeds 10 bathers.

Choosing Sampling Point(s)

The quality of bathing water is determined based on the results of analyses on samples taken at a specific monitoring point, determined by the DDASS authorities and the site manager*. The sampling point(s) is/are always the same. Set in the area where the greatest number of bathers is expected, the point(s) must be easily accessible.