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

Bathing Water Quality and Human Health


Table of contents


Microbiological pollution

published on 01/08/2008



Microbiological pollution can arise from many circumstances, such as a poor household connection to the sanitation grid, overflowing wastewater grids, discharge from residual water purification stations and ground run-off following major rains.
Defective individual sanitation systems in certain residential areas are another possible cause of microbiological pollution, as is diffuse pollution from poorly contained waste from breeding areas, in particular during rain.
rainwater run-off
purification station run-off
The actual impact of discharge on bathing areas depends on a variety of factors: the amount of pollution discharged, the distance between the discharge point and the bathing area, which can enable a certain degree of self-purification by the waste, the discharge dispersal characteristics of the marine currents, etc.

Health Impacts

Contact with pathogens beyond a certain concentration can lead to diseases in the ear-nose-throat sphere, the digestive system (stomach flu) or the eyes.
Bathing in polluted waters increases the risk that health disorders may emerge. The said risk depends on the degree to which the water is contaminated by pathogens, as well as the health of the bather himself and his habits (bathing time, head immersion, etc.).

Health Recommendations

In this case, prevention means:
  • refraining from bathing outside the areas delineated by the local health authorities, which are subject to sanitary assessments, particularly near the discharge points;
  • heed any bathing prohibitions issued during the season by site managers or local assessment services;
  • avoid bathing after severe thunderstorms, which can lead to uncontrolled discharge.
Bathe in supervised areas, ask the local authorities about water quality (analysis results must be posted near the bathing site) and ask about potential sources of pollution (type of discharge, location).