WINEP (Cullercoats Bay Bathing Water Study)

The Water Industry National Environment Programme (WINEP), formerly known as the National Environment Programme (NEP), is a national investment programme for all water only and water and wastewater companies. It includes investigations, monitoring, options appraisals and schemes to drive improvements and prevent deterioration and protect the water environment. These commitments form part of each water company’s Asset Management Plan (AMP) and form a set of regulatory obligations which must be delivered. This study will be focusing on Cullercoats Bay.

Update by Graeme Ridley

Good afternoon,

An update today just to let you know how the NWG WINEP Cullercoats project is progressing.

We continue to have our quarterly meetings in collaboration with the Cullercoats Bathing Water Quality Group (NWG/EA/North Tyneside Council), the most recent meeting on the 14 July 2021.

Phase 2 investigations are ongoing and the final report from Stantec, our Technical Consultants, is still planned for completion 30 September 2021. Investigations ongoing include:

  • NWG weekly sampling, on every Tuesday, at ten locations in and around the beach. Key locations are pools at the three caves to the back of the beach, the "John Street" culvert location that can be accessed from a manhole adjacent to John Street & the Marden Quarry sea outfall at the flap valve to the north directly below to our Browns Point pumping station. Analysis of the sampling is for intestinal enterococci (IE) and E.coli (E). There has been a correlation in the results between the John Street culvert and the pool especially in front of the middle cave. But NWG sampling has corroborated very well with the statutory EA results (that is shared on their web site), with very low levels of bacteria so far this season. But this has been a trend historically in numerous previous years, which will be closely monitored in the second half of the bathing water season;
  • Cores have been undertaken in the concrete wall at the back of the middle cave at the back of the beach and, further sampling has been attempted behind that concrete wall. There is a correlation to sampling results from this pool at the front of the middle cave to the results that we are seeing in the John Street culvert;
  • Small scale sewer repairs have been undertaken at the rear of John Street;
  • Further mis-connections surveys have been undertaken between the Marden Quarry sea outfall below our Browns Point pumping station, right back to Marden Quarry itself, including the surface water pipes that also link into that surface water system.

In the next few weeks we plan to do three "window samples" in the cliff top footpath directly behind the beach caves. These "window samples" are essentially vertical 50-100mm diameter drill holes, which will be done similar to borehole drilling equipment techniques. The equipment is relatively small, the footpath will not need to be closed when this is being done, but there will be width restrictions to the footpath for approximately 5 days. These small holes will go down to the sandstone bedrock (5 - 6 metres) below the surface of the footpath, where we know there is ground water perched above the bedrock in this location, from viewing historic boreholes in this area (available to be seen on the British Geological Survey - BGS website). Groundwater samples we will extract from these three "window samples" for analysis of any bacteria in the ground water. The sampling will continue every Tuesday in our sampling programme till mid September. From the three "window samples" analysis for bacteria, we will then get a better understanding if there essentially a pathway that has formed from the John Street culvert, or possibly other land side culverts, that is permeating to the caves at the beach.

The effect from bacteria emanating from the sea to Cullercoats beach has not yet been ruled out, but the sampling we have been undertaking to date around the beach and to the sea side rock pools behind each pier is indicating very low levels of bacteria, that again is correlating to the bacteria analysis at the EA sampling point, in the sea in between the piers at the beach. Nevertheless, from what I have previously mentioned, it will be in the second half of the bathing water season that the results from the NWG sampling (and EA bathing sampling) might reveal more definitive sampling results and conclusions we can draw on for the Stantec report in September.

I'll post another update in August when we have completed the three window samples & also have some analysis results of the ground water in those locations. Then we will have further EA results also that are always posted on their web site.

Graeme Ridley

(NWG Project Manager)

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