Aldwick deemed a no-go zone for swimmers for second year in a row

The Environment Agency is warning swimmers in Bognor Regis to avoid Aldwick for the second year running.
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The bathing area, which was last rated ‘good’ in 2021, has once again been deemed a no-go zone for swimmers in Sussex, after receiving a ‘poor’ classification in 2022.

Taking water samples from the area throughout 2023, Environment Agency experts found that, although the water quality has improved since the year before, it continues to fall below the standards expected for a useable bathing area. Samples taken from between September and October in 2023 found more than 1,000 colonies of Intestinal Enterococci, and more than 500 colonies of Escherichia Coli per 100 ml of sea water.

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Results in 2022 were considerably worse, with circa 1,500 colonies of Escherichia Coli and more than 2,000 colonies of Intestinal Enterococci discovered per 100 ml of seawater in samples taken from the same period. But 2023’s improved rates are not enough to see Aldwick’s rating go up to ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, and swimmers are still being urged away from the area.

Bognor Regis beach. Photo: Connor GormleyBognor Regis beach. Photo: Connor Gormley
Bognor Regis beach. Photo: Connor Gormley

Escherichia Coli can cause severe diarrhea, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and meningitis, while Intestinal Enterococci is found in the intestinal tracts of animals and has been used to indicate the contamination of bodies of water by waste.

Other bathing sites in and around Bognor Regis also suffered. The bathing water profile for Pagham deteriorated from ‘excellent’ in 2022, to merely 'good’ in 2023 and the Bognor Regis East site has failed to regain the ‘excellent’ classification it lost in 2021.

Thanks to changes over the last few years, there is now only one ‘excellent’ bathing area in and around Bognor Regis: Middleton-on-Sea, which has received top marks from the Environmental Agency since 2019. This represents a marked decline from 2021, when three Bognor Regis-area bathing waters were designated ‘excellent’: Middleton-On-Sea, Bognor Regis East, and Pagham.

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In 2022, the decline of Aldwick’s bathing water classification caused real controversy. Then leader of Arun District Council Shaun Gunner urged Southern Water to “step up” and make urgent changes, linking the downturn with a number of high-profile wastewater releases in the area. Responding to a request for comment from Sussex World at the time, a spokesperson for the water company said it was investigating the source of the drop in quality.