Slip hazard in small splash pool

Parents are encouraged to keep youngsters to the big splash pool (pictured) for the time being; it was cleaned and the water refreshed on Thursday, 18th July 2019, so is safe to use.  However, a slippery black algae deposit has been found in the smaller, upper splash pool and the channel between the two pools.  Volunteers will pressure wash and deep clean the small pool and channel next week – but in the meantime, there is a risk of slipping for any children standing on the black deposit.  Further updates on the algae clean-up will be shared here.

The splash pool area at Clevedon Marine Lake is very popular with young children, especially when the weather’s warm.  In February, over £4,000 was spent improving the drain works for the splash pools, to make sluicing and maintenance a lot easier for volunteers.

There’s always lots to do at the lake in terms of litter picking, cleaning, muscle work and site management, so if you can spare any time to help out, please contact volunteer@marlens.org.uk

Do your bit for water quality

Clevedon Marine Lake is a much-loved community asset.  Lake users can follow six simple steps to help keep the water quality good in the lake:

  • No dogs lakeside.
  • Use the public toilets next to the arcade.
  • Use crabbing bait like bacon sparingly and clean up any scraps.
  • Not swim when unwell.
  • Use the drinking tap and freshwater shower adjacent to HM Coastguard Clevedon rescue station.
  • Drop £1 in one of the donation boxes every visit, to help pay for water quality testing and lake care.

During the warm summer months, when the lake is heavily used, the water quality in Clevedon Marine Lake is sampled before and after each series of overtopping tides (approximately those over 12.5m) to provide a baseline health check.  The test results are shared to allow lake users to make an informed decision about entering the water.

Poor bathing water quality test results occur from time to time.  The causes include:

  • A prolonged warm spell. Although UV in sunlight kills off harmful bacteria, it is only effective at surface level where the light can penetrate.
  • Heavy usage stirring up sediment from the lakebed.
  • Heavy rainfall causing run-off into the Severn Estuary, entering the lake on overtopping tides.
  • Contamination from human or dog waste.

Clevedon Marine lake is a semi-natural environment.  It is a living space filled by sea water from the Severn Estuary.  Faecal coliforms are present all around us and inside us.  They live in our gut.  Mammals (including humans), fish and birds produce them all the time.  Faecal coliform bacteria can enter aquatic environments through direct discharge of waste from these species, from agricultural and urban storm runoff, and from human sewage.

There is a year-round ‘NO DOGS’ order in place at Clevedon Marine Lake and the splash pool for public health protection, to reduce the risk of unfriendly bacteria draining into the lake.  A single gram of dog waste can contain millions of faecal coliform bacteria, known to cause cramps, diarrhoea, intestinal illness, and serious kidney disorders in humans.  Faecal coliform bacteria can also present as eye or ear infections.

Updates on the water quality in Clevedon Marine Lake are shared here.  If a poor result is reported, it is recommended that the public do not swim in the lake until the water has refreshed and been retested.  People may choose to use the lake at their own risk in the meantime.  Any swimmers doing so are advised to wear ear plugs and goggles to protect against infection.  All visitors having contact with the lake water are advised to wash hands before eating.

In addition, the water quality in the Severn Estuary, which refills the lake, is monitored regularly by the Environment Agency throughout May to September, with samples taken from Clevedon Beach adjacent to Clevedon Marine Lake.  Poor water quality warnings are issued on-line – and the most recent water quality test results also can be checked.

 

Excellent bathing water quality

On Monday 10th June 2019, a sample of water was taken from Clevedon Marine Lake.  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 on Sunday, 16th June 2019.

Ragworm spawning

Clevedon Marine Lake is a living space, filled by sea water from the Severn Estuary which is alive with marine life.  Due to its high tidal range, the estuary has one of the most extensive intertidal wildlife habitats in the UK, comprising mudflats, sand flats, rocky platforms and islands.  These form a basis for plant and animal communities typical of extreme physical conditions of liquid mud and tide-swept sand and rock. The estuary is recognised as a wetland area of international importance, and parts are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Thanks to this rich biodiversity, a natural phenomenon occurred at Clevedon Marine Lake on Thursday 23rd May 2019.  Visitors noticed clusters of activity under the water’s surface.  The pinkish creatures skiting about were spawning ragworm.  They look a lot like an underwater millipede.  Ragworms emerge from their burrows in late spring and swim freely to spawn at the water’s surface.  The event is part of nature’s cycle and will pass as quickly as it started.

The lake remains open for use whilst this natural process works its way through.  Some swimmers continue with their laps unfazed; others prefer to wait a couple of days.  It’s part of being a semi-natural environment.

The ragworm is highly common around the UK. They live in burrows located between the high tide and low tide points on sandy and muddy beaches and are often found in areas which offer some form of shelter, such as coves, harbours and estuaries. They feed on plankton and other small particles. They are widely used by anglers for bait.

 

 

Splashing out on the splash pool

From Monday 11th to 20th March, Clevedon Marine Lake will be partially drained to enable contractors to access the inner lake wall to install an inlet valve in the splash pool wall – timed to avoid overtopping tides.  The splash pool area will be fenced off for the week from 10th March.  As the water level will be lowered, the lake will also be unavailable to users.  The lake should refill on Tuesday 19th March at around 6pm.

The new drain works for the splash pool, costing over £4,000, will make sluicing and maintenance of the splash pool a lot easier for volunteers – as it normally requires pressure washers and electric pumps to clean it thoroughly.  In future, thanks to this project, the same will be achieved using the sea wall valve to drain the pool and the lake wall valve to let water in to flush everything through.  The investment will be well worthwhile, also enabling youngsters to enjoy good, clean fun every time they visit the splash pool.

There’s lots to do from Sunday afternoon on March 10th until March 19th, in terms of litter picking, muscle work and site management, so if you can spare any time to help out, please contact volunteer@marlens.org.uk

A fantastic year of life on the lake

2018 was a fantastic year for life on the lake.  Not only are visitor numbers ever increasing – but also much needed funds to keep Clevedon Marine Lake ship shape.  Here’s a snap shot of some highlights we’d like to share with you, to give you a better understanding of all the improvements we’re making thanks to your generosity – in terms of both time and money.

Some significant donations in 2018 > £3,000

We’ve had some incredibly generous donations from individuals – who’ve either asked friends and family to gift money to MARLENS instead of a birthday present or nominated MARLENS to commemorate a loved one’s passing as an alternative to flowers – whilst others have invested their time and energy in organising social swims and swim challenges in support of the charity.  In addition, in January 2018, a local business, MBDA based in Filton awarded MARLENS £1,700 through its Charity Challenge Initiative Scheme.  Together these gifts totalled over £3,000.

Clubs and Coaches doing their bit – £3,500

Every time you see a Club or registered coach running a session on Clevedon Marine Lake, remember they’re contributing to everyone’s enjoyment of this amazing space.  Clubs and Coaches register with MARLENS to use the lake by paying an annual fee as well as making a contribution per session.

Some Fantastic Fundraisers in 2018 – £11,000

Community events and subscriptions in support of MARLENS are making all the difference too.  In round numbers, here’s a taste of how well they did last year – Clevedon Open Water events £3,300, MARLENS’ Lottery £1,900, Last Night of The Proms £1,700, Winterfest £1,200, The Curzon ‘Swimming under the Sky’ £900,  New Year’s Dip £600, Friends of Clevedon Marine Lake £500, Avon Gorge Boat Trip £500 and Light up The Lake £400.

Just some of the costs in 2018 – £10,000

It costs a lot to run Clevedon Marine Lake, and many of the expenses are unseen.  Administrative costs simply to run the charity amount to £3,500 per annum.  In addition, in November 2018, MARLENS submitted an application to Marine Management Organisation for two silt removal sessions per year (March, October) for the next five years, 2019-2024.  The application costs £1,500.  It is required to enable MARLENS to deposit silt back into the estuary.

MARLENS spent over £1,500 on routine repairs and maintenance around the lake in 2018, and over £1,000 on equipment to support the work carried out by volunteers.  Other investments at the lake in 2018 included non-slip matting for events, running costs for the webcam, new flags on the upper promenade and the installation of three murals which together cost over £2,500.

Some 2019 Investments – £10,000

From 2019 onwards, we are looking to carry out two drain downs for mud clearance each year.  The lake’s annual heavy machinery bill for the de-silting programme alone will be £3,000.

We’re planning to digitise subscriptions and donations on Clevedon Marine Lake website this year, and together with continued water quality testing, we’re budgeting over £1,000.  Another £1,500 will be set aside for more concrete benches and helpful fittings lakeside.  There’s a major, remedial project planned to improve the splash pool in 2019 which will reduce on-going maintenance and is estimated to cost £4,500.

LTL

We’re excited about the year ahead and bringing all these plans to life – but we couldn’t do it without your continued support.  Thank you from MARLENS and our growing community who ‘Love The Lake’.  There’s lots to do – and lots of love for this amazing space!

MARLENS, the charity behind the lake is run solely by volunteers.  Clevedon Marine Lake is run for the people by the people.   New volunteers are always welcome.

Well done to everyone who assisted

Just before Christmas an elderly gentleman suffered a cardiac arrest after a brief swim in Clevedon Marine Lake. He was fortunate to receive immediate care from three swimmers lakeside, who were off-duty or ex-nurses; he was given CPR and the Coastguard Station defibrillator (pictured) was deployed. Three paramedic vehicles and the air ambulance attended and took over after approximately 15 minutes. The patient was stabilised and transferred to an Intensive Care Unit.

We are pleased to announce that after several days in ICU, the gentleman has been transferred to a Cardiac Unit for further treatment.

Marlens would like to say thank you and well done to everyone who assisted.

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