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St Aubin’s Bay: Sea water testing results

16 June 2023

Samples of sea water from St Aubin’s Bay, taken on Tuesday and Thursday this week, have found the water quality to be “excellent”, the Minister for the Environment has confirmed.

In mid-week, Islanders were advised not to swim in the bay, as a precaution, due to concerns about the standard of the discharge from the Sewage Treatment Works (STW).

Test results from routine samples taken on Tuesday at La Haule and Victoria Pool were both found to be “excellent” on the EU Bathing Water Directive scale.

Extra results from samples taken on Thursday at Victoria Pool (Castle Side and Midbay), La Haule, Belcroute and Havre des Pas pool all also showed an “excellent” standard.

However, the undiluted sample taken directly at the First Tower outfall on Thursday was poor. In comparison, bathing water samples are taken under specific conditions including depth of the water.

The advice not to swim will remain in place to allow further testing at the STW itself, and additional sea water sampling. Further results will be available and published on Saturday morning.

The Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, said: “I’m pleased to see that the repeat bathing water samples results have come back as ‘excellent’ on the EU Bathing Water Directive scale. They provide reassurance that although the quality leaving the Sewage Treatment Works isn’t of the standard we’d normally expect, the water quality in the bay generally remains high. This suggests that the water from the STW is being quickly dispersed and diluted in the bay. However, I remain concerned about the poor findings from the undiluted outfall sample, which confirms that water coming from the STW is not yet up to standard. 

“We need to wait for colleagues in the Infrastructure team to confirm that the issues have been resolved at the plant itself, before we can change the advice around swimming. We also need to do more testing of sea water to back up the findings from this week’s samples. We’re taking a precautionary approach, and the safety of Islanders must be our priority.”

The team working at the Sewage Treatment Works at Bellozanne are making a series of changes and adjusting processes. Further testing continues there to see if operational changes are having a positive impact on the quality of the discharge.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Tom Binet, said: “Lack of rainfall, recent hot weather and high levels of ammonia coming into the plant seem to have been contributory factors to the lowerthan-usual quality of the discharge.

“I understand that people will be concerned, but I want to reiterate that this isn’t raw sewage going out into the sea. Our team at the Sewage Treatment Works are working incredibly hard, as you’d expect, to rectify the issues.” 

The results of the testing to date have been communicated to the Jersey Triathlon organisers.

Anyone who has been swimming in the area and starts to feel unwell or has health concerns should speak to their doctor (GP). The Environmental and Consumer Protection switchboard is also open for public health advice each weekday (Mon-Fri, 9am–4.30pm) on 01534 445808. 

Islanders walking their dogs on the beach at St Aubin’s Bay are advised not to let them into the sea there at this time.

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