Bathing Water

What’s happening?

Updates: March 2022, application still in progress with no outcome as yet.

In Summer 2021, Forth Rivers Trust, in conjunction with West Lothian Council, applied for a section of the River Almond to become officially designated bathing waters. The section of the river we have applied for is in the heart of Almondell & Calderwood Country Park in West Lothian, upstream from the Nasmyth Bridge.

Forth Rivers Trust staff and members of the Friends Of Almondell & Calderwood Country Park and River Almond Action Group will be out over the summer carrying out surveys to count how many people use the river during the bathing season. We will then submit this information to SEPA at the end of the season to go with our application. If you see us when we’re out and about come and say hi!

Why are we applying?

One of the main motivations for the bathing waters application is to hold water authorities to a higher standard of water quality control and monitoring for the River Almond. There are significant pollution issues arising from the Sewage Treatment Works further upstream, and designated bathing waters benefit from stricter monitoring of the water quality which will lead to safer water conditions for everyone who uses the river.

If the application is successful it will mean that SEPA must make water quality information available to the public, increase water testing throughout the bathing season, and put stricter limits on pollution events from Wastewater Treatment Works. 

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) designate areas of bathing water under the Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008. The water quality of these areas is monitored throughout the bathing season, from 1st June to 15th September. SEPA then classifies the general water condition of the area as excellent, good, sufficient, or poor. The waters are classified at the end of the season, and the results are displayed at the beginning of the following season. SEPA typically tests water samples for Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci, and makes observations at bathing waters for cyanobacterial (blue-green algae) blooms, macroalgae (seaweed), marine phytoplankton and other waste.

Where are we applying for?

Here you can see the area submitted for designation. It encompasses the River Almond from the Nasmyth Bridge upstream to the weir by the SEPA testing station.

This area was chosen as it is a natural spot for local people to enter the river. The Almond flows right alongside the wildflower meadow, which acts as our ‘beach’ area and is a popular central spot for visitors to the park to visit. People are regularly seen swimming, paddling, kayaking, or just generally guddling around in the river. It is an especially lovely place to be during the summer months, when the meadow is filled wildflowers, butterflies and bees buzzing about. On a sunny summer’s day, families, dog walkers, and nature enthusiasts visit the river and the meadow as they journey through the Country Park.

Who is helping us?

Forth Rivers Trust with support from West Lothian Council are applying for bathing waters designation, and we are being supported by members of the River Almond Action Group and Friends Of Almondell & Calderwood Country Park.

What can you do?

Tell us your thoughts!

We’d like to hear from members of the local communities to find out how you use the River Almond at Almondell. It will only take a minute! Click Here