WESSEX Water has hit back at suggestions that Bowleaze Cove has some of the worst water quality in the country.

A report, published by BusinessWaste, “looked at data from 425 beaches to reveal the cleanest (and dirtiest) across Britain”. Bowleaze Cove was brandished the third worst in the country, according to the study, but Wessex Water has said that the claim is “wholly misleading”.

Councillor Louie O'Leary, who represents Littlemoor and Preston, said he's "never had any complaints" whilst Councillor Graham Carr-Jones said the report "undermine(d) the good work so many hard working and committed people put in to make Dorset a great place to live, work, and visit".

BusinessWaste looked at publicly available information regarding the levels of E.Coli - a fecal indicator - detected in seawater during routine government testing over the past two years.

In the report they claimed that Bowleaze Cove had an E. Coli count of 3,349 whilst the “cleanest beach”, Treyarnon Bay, registered a count of just 50. But the report focussed on just one outlier from Bowleaze Cove - taken last July - despite the Weymouth beach returning 21 (out of 25) samples with E. Coli counts lower than 50 colonies per 100ml since May 2021.

Wessex Water say the high reading was the result of a very wet day that saw storm overflows in use and for the report to focus on one reading was “wholly misleading”.

Cllr O'Leary said: "I've never had any complaints from residents, environment agencies or anyone in the Council about the water quality. It's a very popular space for beach goers and I would hope this sort of report doesn't scare off people from visiting what is an outstanding destination."

Cllr Carr-Jones, portfolio holder for Housing and Community safety, said: "We are very proud of our Jurassic Coast & all the enjoyment it brings to so many thousands of visitors a year!"

A Wessex Water spokesman said: “To suggest Bowleaze Cove is one of the worst for clean water is wholly misleading when it is rated “good” by the Environment Agency, based on water quality samples taken throughout the bathing water season.

“The report focuses on just one very wet day last year, which isn’t representative of normal water quality. As well as storm overflows being in operation to protect homes from flooding, there are mobile homes and campsites around the cove that would have contributed to reduced water quality on that day.

“Furthermore, the Environment Agency suggests that during and after periods of heavy rainfall, runoff from agricultural areas is greatly increased, and consequently the quality of the bathing water may be adversely affected in this area.”

On storm overflows, Wessex Water said it is investing £3 million a month to tackle storm overflows, with work already underway. Work includes upgrading 42 water recycling centres to increase capacity and the company is aiming for a 25% reduction in the number of hours of storm overflow discharges by 2025.”