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Sheppey's beaches make the clean water grade

Kent beaches tested in 2009. Graphic: James Norris
Kent beaches tested in 2009. Graphic: James Norris

Every Kent beach has met European standards for bathing water quality this year.

And both of the Island's tested beaches passed and were only a whisker away from being given an excellent rating, according to Southern Water.

To be judged as excellent, the beaches needed to have 18 out of 20 weekly samples reaching the higher standard. Leysdown and Sheerness hit the mark 17 times.

Between May and September this year all the beaches the Environment Agency tested met 100 per cent ‘mandatory’ (or ‘good’) standards, with 68 per cent achieving the ‘guideline’ standard.

Southern Water says the result is largely part of the company’s long-term investment in environmental improvements across the county.

The work ensures that treated waste water recycled back into Kent’s rivers and seas meet European targets.

John Spence, Southern Water's head of wastewater & environmental strategy, said: "We are delighted that this year all the beaches in Kent met European standards.

"Southern Water's ongoing environmental improvement programme has brought about a tremendous improvement in the quality of water around our coastline which is good news for our customers and the tourist industry across the South East."

But it is not just Southern Water's work which has led to the improvements, rainwater running off roads and farmland, wastewater from privately owned sewage works, boats or even animals on the beach also has an impact.

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