Water quality advice for recreational users

Visitors should not rely upon the water quality classifications at Hayling’s bathing waters as an indication of quality elsewhere within the harbours.

Sampling has shown that the water quality in the Harbours sites is generally excellent, but does differ by location and can vary widely day-to-day in some areas.

Non-designated waters

Non-designated waters represent a slightly higher risk to visitors than do any of the classified bathing waters. This is especially true where recreational waters are used for higher-risk activities or are visited outside the bathing season.

Storm wastewater and emergency overflow discharges

Water quality in the Harbours, and within the Solent may be periodically affected by storm wastewater and emergency overflow discharges from the public sewerage system.  

Discharges typically occur either during or shortly after periods of heavy rainfall, are often intermittent in nature and could occur at any point up to 24 hours following heavy rainfall. Occasionally, discharges of wastewater are made for operational reasons not related to rainfall.

Runoff from land and from discharges from local surfacewater sewers may also affect shallow water close to shore for up to 24 hours following heavy rainfall, even if no storm wastewater or emergency wastewater discharges are made.

Water quality would not normally be expected to be significantly affected for more than 48 hours after the last storm wastewater discharge, but discharges could occur up to 24 hours after heavy rainfall. Where settled weather follows a significant rainfall event, water quality would be expected return it’s normal range after 72 hours.

Health risks

Health risks to recreational users tend to be higher when:

  • there are visible indications of sewage-related pollution in the water
  • on overcast or rainy days during prolonged periods of unsettled weather
  • during or shortly after a storm or other heavy rainfall
  • when waters are rough and choppy
  • when engaging in higher-risk activities (water skiing, boardsports)
  • when using the water for prolonged periods and engaging in activity likely to result in full immersion far from shore
  • when using waters close to locations where routine storm wastewater discharges from short outfalls occur
  • when using the water on days falling outside of the bathing season

Health risks to recreational users tend to be lower when:

  • it is a calm and sunny day
  • when engaging in lower-risk activities (sailing, kayaking etc)