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Friday, July 2, 1999 Published at 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK


Life's a beach when it rains

Last summer was a particularly bad year

Heavy rain is one of the reasons why some beaches in the west of Scotland have continually failed to meet EU bathing water standards, according to a report.

The research was commissioned to try to to find out exactly why some parts of the coastline have failed to make the grade.

Environment correspondent Louise Batchelor reports
The 1998 results for Scotland as a whole were the worst in 10 years with only one of the eight identified beaches in the west region passing the test.

The findings say sewage discharges directly into the sea are the major source of bacteria and "clearly contributed" to the problem in recent years.

Rain problem

It also identifies heavy rainfall as an additional factor.

Agricultural pollution washed into rivers by the rain and sewage overflows were found to be responsible for poor water quality which then flows into the sea.

The report's author Professor David Kay, from the University of Wales, says West of Scotland Water's £45m programme of sewage treatment works will be a significant help.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which monitors the waters, said last year's cloudy and wet summer was one of the major reasons for the failures in 1998.

The agency has promised to work closely with West of Scotland Water to ensure improvements are carried out.

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