Excellent bathing water quality

On Friday 28th September 2018, a sample of water was taken from Clevedon Marine Lake after a series of overtopping tides from the Bristol Channel.  The results indicate the water quality is ‘Excellent’ as stated for Coastal and Transitional waters in The Bathing Water Regulations, 2013.  The lake water will refresh again with overtopping tides from the evening of Sunday, 7th October 2018.

Excellent bathing water quality

On Monday 17th September 2018, a sample of water was taken from Clevedon Marine Lake after a series of overtopping tides from the Bristol Channel.  The results indicate the water quality is ‘Excellent’ as stated for Coastal and Transitional waters in The Bathing Water Regulations, 2013.  The lake water will refresh again with overtopping tides from the evening of Monday, 24th September 2018.

Refreshing news

You may have read reports about the lake’s water being contaminated by faecal coliform bacteria. So, what does it all mean?

Faecal coliforms are present all around us and inside us. They live in our gut. Mammals (including us humans) and fish produce them all the time. They enter our water courses through normal water run-off. After heavy rains, pollutants on farm land in particular, but also those from our driveways and pavements, get into the water. It is unavoidable.

Clevedon Marine Lake fills naturally on over-topping tides from the Bristol Channel. The Environment Agency monitors water quality on the beach adjacent to the lake during the summer season, and issues poor water quality warnings when they arise.

So, what if the lake refreshes with over-topping water during a period of contamination?

We could of course just drain it out, but that would mean it would not refill until the next sequence of over-topping tides, which could mean the lake’s empty for weeks. When this occurred in August 2018, we decided to leave the lake full and to monitor the quality further. We also posted warnings about the water quality, so people could make an informed decision about entering the water before the drain down and refresh on 8th September 2018.  There were no pollution alerts for the Bristol Channel in the run up to the drain down, so the lake should now be full of nice clean water.  To make sure, we’ll test it again on 17th September 2018, after the sequence of over-topping tides. 

Regular swimmers tend to be sanguine about the water and continue to swim as they have done daily for many years. Faecal coliform bacteria can cause gastro-enteritis symptoms or present as eye or ear infections. If any lake user is at all worried about this they should avoid using the lake until the water quality is confirmed as of at least good quality and keep a look out for updates on Clevedon Marine Lake website and social media channels.

Marlens’ Technical Team

Don’t jump into the unknown

Take notice of the safety signs around Clevedon Marine Lake. Water may look safe, but it can be dangerous. Water depth may be shallower than it seems. Submerged objects like rocks may not be visible – these can cause serious impact injuries. Know the SIGNS. A red ring shape with a line running through it, white background and symbols mean you should NOT do this. There are ‘No Diving’ signs positioned around Clevedon Marine Lake. This means no diving in Clevedon Marine Lake, because most of it is shallow, the water is murky and there may be obstructions on the lake bed.

Lake Day 2018

Celebrating the 89th anniversary of the opening of Clevedon Marine Lake, MARLENS, the charity behind the restoration, management and further improvement of the lake, hosted its third annual Lake Day on 24th March 2018 to kick off a season full of life and activity on the lake, with free taster sessions – have-a-go canoeing, paddle boarding, rowing and model boating, plus other fun stuff going on lakeside.

Here’s an aerial view of some of the activity thanks to Geoff Langan @ Orbitance.

A splash of colour at the lake

Last month, MARLENS (Marine Lake Enthusiasts), the charity behind the lake’s 2015 restoration and continued improvements at the lake, installed three colourful ceramic murals to cheer up the concrete and stone lake surrounds.  The three designs were donated by local artist and outdoor swimmer Nancy Farmer (pictured), and bring to life different aspects of activity at the lake – cold water swimming, crabbing, model boating and a variety of water sports.

Clevedon seafront has a wonderful promenade stretching from the pier to the lake.  Recent improvements at Clevedon Marine Lake give visitors a wonderful place to enjoy not only the stunning panorama but also the buzz about the lake, in real life and now in the detail of three vibrant murals – THANKS TO NANCY!

For more information about MARLENS or to get involved contact info@marlens.org.uk

Photo credit: Hilary Jenkins-Spangler

 

Polar Bear Challenge

During the winter months, November 2017 to March 2018, lots of brave swimmers challenged themselves to swim regularly in Clevedon Marine Lake, incentivised by the Polar Bear Challenge.  The challenge, which was organised by volunteers, required participants to swim a minimum of 100m twice a month.  One way to rack up the required distance was a 100m circuit around the lake’s much-loved pontoon.  Watch this wonderful bird’s eye view of the swimmers celebrating their achievements on 25th March 2018, when individual awards were given out at Clevedon Sailing Club.  The challenge raised £500 to support Marlens, the charity behind the maintenance and development of Clevedon Marine Lake.  Well done Clevedon Polar Bears for enjoying the cold water!  And thank you Geoff Langan from Orbitance for the amazing view.

Polar bears are excellent swimmers; their scientific name, Ursus maritimus, means ‘sea bear’.  They live in countries that ring the Arctic Circle, swimming in seas of -2oC.

Marine Lake Swimmers

All hail the early bathers
Swimwear on before the dawn
Then entering the water
As autumn day is born
Mirrored surface broken
As cross the lake they power
Immune they to the coldness
At this the waking hour
They say it’s warmer in there
Than standing on the brink
But some are made for swimming
While others merely sink.

PETER GIBBS, September 2017

Converting harmful into helpful

Watch the world’s first kayak being manufactured from 100% recycled beach plastic, using plastic collected from Devon & Cornwall beach cleans under the BeachCare programme.  The intention is for the recycled beach plastic kayaks to be used by community group volunteers to collect marine plastic from the water for recycling.

The initiative is the brainchild of marine conservationist Rob Thompson who launched Fathoms Free Paddle for Plastic campaign in January 2018, as another way to help combat the damage to marine life and ecology caused by waste plastic from the fishing industry and food packaging.  The project is about converting harmful into helpful, with plastic from the sea going back into the sea; a virtuous circle to counter the increasingly vicious circle plaguing the world’s oceans.

Rob founded Fathoms Free in 2014 in response to his experience of marine plastic when diving.  Globally, 300 million tonnes of non-biodegradable plastic are produced each year, with an estimated 8 million tonnes of it entering the sea.  With 70% of it sinking, there is a huge job to do cleaning up below the shoreline, as well as above and along it.

The ‘harmful into helpful’ model ticks all the boxes.  It enables access to inaccessible coves, estuaries and other areas not frequented by regular beach cleaners, provides a means of disposal for the plastic generated through clean-ups and helps fund Fathoms Free conservation activities.

For over two years, Rob has worked in partnership with BeachCare and Keep Britain Tidy to develop a circular economy business model to build the infrastructure (ocean plastic collection, sorting, recycling, storage facilities) for manufacturing sea-to-sea plastic products including a bodyboard and prototype sit-on-top kayak, recycling around 7 tonnes of beach waste over the past year in partnership with Exeter City Council.

To complement land-based beach clean projects such as the Marine Conservation Society’s Beachwatch, the Paddle for Plastic campaign is designed to encourage paddlers to help tackle the ocean plastic floating off our coastline.

In February 2018, Palm Equipment, based just outside Clevedon, North Somerset, moulded the world’s first, 100% recycled beach plastic kayak to help promote the campaign. More kayaks are to be produced and distributed to clubs in the Southwest over the coming months to raise awareness amongst the paddling fraternity and encourage paddlers to unite against marine plastic.  The scale of the problem is immense, but if lots of people get involved it will make a significant difference.

Bob Slee, Technical Director at Palm Equipment adds, ‘I personally am very passionate about this especially as TV programmes like Blue Planet and Countryfile have pushed this into the limelight in a way that only TV can. It’s a hot topic with government backing, and for a small company like Palm to become involved in this is something special.  Palm is delighted to be part of such a ground-breaking campaign and excited about its positive impact.’

Kate Gay (March 2018)