Citizen scientists to monitor sea sewage along Fylde Coast beaches with regular testing for E Coli

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Volunteers will carry out regular water tests along the Fylde Coast to monitor the sea sewage levels over a six month period, after receiving a £1,800 Community Action Grant from Fleetwood Town Council.

A group of 'citizen scientists' have received funding to conduct six months worth of regular tests in the water at Fleetwood.

They will test for E.Coli and Enterrococci - which is a strong indicator of whether there is human faecal contamination is the water, with the first test planned for early February 2024.

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The volunteers will be trained to collect samples of sea water, using a standard collecting pot which is provided by a validated laboratory.

The water will then be sent to the laboratory for testing, as part of a pilot project organised by Fylde Coast Against Sewage (FCAS).

A spokesperson said: "We are developing a testing protocol which will take into account variables such as tide times, weather fronts and personal health and safety. All the data will be inputted into a database so that analysis can be made for us to have a better picture of the state of our sea."

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Members of the FCAS group recently appeared on a Panorama programme, which investigated an alleged cover-up of sewage leaks, which was refuted by United Utilities and the Environment Agency.

Barbara Kneale, the chairperson of FCAS, said they have 'lost confidence in the Environment Agency, and any information provided by United Utilities'.

United Utilities added: "Fleetwood wastewater treatment works has been fully functioning since 29 June and this has been confirmed on more than one occasion to members of the Fylde Coast campaign group. We understand the Safer Seas app which is run by Surfers Against Sewage was not updating for a number of weeks, but this was not because of any lack of updates or data from the Environment Agency or United Utilities."

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