I am pleased to inform you that Esh Stantec (NWG's technical consultant) have completed the Phase 1 report on the WINEP Cullercoats project. The aim of this first report was
- To undertake a review of all the known surveys, repairs, investigations and studies undertaken to date in connection with the deterioration of Bathing Water quality and classification in recent years;
- Identify any data gaps that may need investigating to further our understanding of the cause for the deterioration in bathing water quality;
- Produce a summary report outlining the reviewed data and any recommendations for subsequent investigations to be undertaken during the second phase of investigation.
The Phase 1 report summary and "gap analysis" has identified the following five key areas as gaps of our knowledge:
- We need to establish the source of all flows into the John Street underground culverted watercourse;
- Connectivity surveys and dye tracing of the beachfront facilities undertaken to date, have confirmed satisfactory connections to NWG sewer network, however the integrity and condition of these assets is not fully known. Investigations will now be undertaken to ensure there are no significant defects to these assets;
- The presence of other hidden culverts potentially discharging onto the beach infiltrating underground, that are not visible on the surface. There is anecdotal evidence that there is another two underground culverts local to Cullercoats bay;
- Further investigations and analysis into the local geology is recommended, with a focus on the significance of the geology that might be providing a preferential flow pathway towards the bathing water;
- The nature of Cullercoats bay is such that it is an enclosed beach with two piers, potentially having an impact on flows in and out of the bay area. The significance of this, as well as the potential impact on the natural sandbars present in the bay area, will be investigated further.
The above five areas in the Phase 1 report "gap analysis" will be investigated further as we move into 2021. Further data collection that may require trial pits, boreholes, pipe CCTV work will resume in and around the beach front areas. We continue to work with the Cullercoats Bathing Water Quality Group (NWG, Environment Agency or North Tyneside Council) to work together so we can this year understand more precisely the reason(s) and bacterial source(s) of why the bathing water quality has been deteriorating in recent years.
The Phase 1 report examined the last five years of data from NWG's two storm overflows located within close proximity to the bathing water at Cullercoats. This data is held within NWG's eSCADA telemetry system and was reviewed to assess the performance of the sewerage network to identify any discharges from storm overflows. The records indicate that there have been no discharge events at the storm overflows in recent years.
I will provide more updates for you as we move into 2021.
(NWG Project Manager)