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National report shows increase of "excellent" EU bathing waters in Sweden

Nyhet   •   Maj 15, 2018 12:22 CEST

Photo: Maja Kristin Nylander

More than 90 percent of the EU bathing waters in Sweden met at least sufficient water quality standards in 2017. There has also been an increase in bathing waters classified as excellent, from 333 in 2016 to 353 in 2017.

“We are very happy to see that actions, taken by local municipalities, are leading to higher quality of bathing waters in Sweden”, says Ylva Engwall, analyst in Water Management at Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management, SwAM.

The local municipalities in Sweden have been reporting data according to the new BWD (2006/7/EC) since the bathing season 2008.

Altogether, 441 EU bathing waters have been reported in 2017, the majority are coastal waters. Two new bathing waters have been added in the most recent season. In total there were 2,131 samples taken at bathing waters in Sweden throughout the bathing season of 2017 – 5 samples per bathing water on average.

Bathing season June to August

The maximum bathing season period in Sweden is from 21 June to 20 August, i.e. 61 days altogether. Season duration varies depending on the bathing water.

During the bathing season, water samples are taken and analysed for two bacteria, Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci, which may indicate the presence of pollution, usually originating in sewage, livestock waste, bird faeces etc. The results of the analysis is being used to assess the quality of the bathing waters concerned and to provide information to the public on the quality of water in the bathing sites concerned

­Detailed information on bathing waters is available from national portal, here.

With a long coastline and many lakes, Sweden has many beaches and swimming areas. Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM), oversees the regulations and guidelines related to bathing water quality in Sweden. If these rules are satisfied, the bathing water is categorised as 'sampling frequency satisfied' and if not all monitoring requirements are fulfilled as 'not enough samples'.

Interactive map on SwAM´s website

The Agency, in accordance with the Bathing Water Directive, issues detailed instructions for collecting water samples. In Sweden, areas with more than 200 bathers per day on average are considered as EU bathing sites. Swimming areas with fewer than 200 bathers per day have the option of registering as an EU bathing site. Interactive map "Badplatsen" (in Swedish) available here shows the water quality for the swimming areas that are monitored in Sweden.

Results of the most recent samplings are shown, and information is updated as soon as new test results are received from municipalities. The map also contains data on, for example, algal blooms and contact information for the responsible municipality, measures undertaken in case of water quality issues, and if there is a current warning against bathing in that area.

Swedish classification is pre-eminent

Due to new improved sensitivity of analysis used by some Swedish local municipalities, bathing water classifications for Sweden in 2017 received generally lower classifications forsome bathing watersby the EU in the annual report from The European Environment Agency (EEA).

This is because of the calculation method used. The number of bathing sites with excellent quality has decreased from 2016 to 2017 in several Swedish bathing waters according to EEA report, even though there is no indication of decrease in water quality for these sites.

Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management is therefore using the national report of bathing waters in classifying so called EU bathing waters, here.

For more information contact Ylva Engwall, analyst in Water Management, department for Marine and Water Management, SwAM, phone +46 (0)10-6986291, mobile +46 (0)73-0530420, e-mail: ylva.engwall@havochvatten.se

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