BATHING water in Robin Hood’s Bay has seen a huge increase in quality over the last two years, a Yorkshire Water representative has told the village’s parish council.
Operation support engineer Karrie Dent told Fylingdales Parish Council at their monthly meeting last Tuesday that the increase in quality had been attributed to varying waterworks which took place at a nearby school, nunnery and caravan site.
Fears had arisen that the bay would fail the new Bathing Water Directive, set to be rolled out from 2016, after the water quality was found to be poor. Failing water standards would have had a huge knock-on effect for the number of tourists visiting Robin Hood’s Bay’s beach each year.
However, sampling which has taken place since 2011 has seen a marked increase water quality. Miss Dent said: “For the past two years it has been excellent on. Wet weather usually equals really bad water standards so something’s happening now and it’s doing incredibly well.”
The drastic change in fortunes of Robin Hood’s Bay’s sea water was attributed to three sites which have now improved their sewage systems. A large caravan site was found to have a septic tank which was leaking into Marner Dale Beck. This has now been connected back to the sewer. Also, a local nunnery and school have recently improved their sewer outlet systems, and the combination of these has drastically raised the water quality in the last two years.
This is good news for Robin Hood’s Bay as testing for the new Bathing Water Directive began in 2012, ahead of the new scheme’s publication in 2016.
Throughout the year 20 samples are gathered at specified bathing beaches, and a four-year average will be built up. From this, each beach will be given a classification. Larger beaches classified as excellent, such as Whitby or Scarborough, will achieve Blue Flag status. However, as a rural beach Robin Hood’s Bay will not be eligible for this.
The classification is aimed at protecting human health so microbial studies will be carried out to discover presence of E Coli or Intestinal Enterococci.
Following Wednesday’s presentation, some residents took the opportunity to raise concerns about drainage overflow systems running through the village. Following heavy rainfalls these have been seen to overflow directly onto the streets.
Residents, including SBC councillor Jane Mortimer - who also sits on the parish council - said formal complaints had been lodged with Yorkshire Water, but they had not been acknowledged.
“It’s a big shock and it’s completely and utterly unacceptable,” said Miss Dent, when she heard some of the stories and was shown images of water gushing out of pipes at the bottom of New Road. “It’s totally wrong and it’s disgusting. If I had known about that I wouldn’t have stood up and said I hadn’t found anything. The model I have told you about is for if everything is working.”
The overflows are believed to be a result of both the extremely wet weather and the additional load placed on sewage system by guest houses at the top of the village. Where large houses once had a single lavatory, these have been converted into guest houses with multiple bathrooms and toilets, adding to the amount of water flushed away.
Yorkshire Water are set to undertake a review to discover where investment is required within the Fylingdales area to improve their drainage and sewer systems.