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Combe Martin Bathing Water

Addressing challenges that were threatening public health, tourism, and the environment

  • Combe Martin, Devon, UK

    Combe Martin, Devon, UK

Identifying solutions to improve water quality in Combe Martin

Combe Martin is a small resort town on the north Devon coast with a local economy that thrives on visitors to its sandy beaches. In 2018, after the bathing waters were designated ‘poor’, South West Water needed urgent solutions to the challenges threatening tourism, public health, and the environment.

Our team was commissioned to identify all the key pollution sources and pathways that were impacting the bathing water quality. Our surveys and hydraulic modelling of the sewer network highlighted contributing factors including microbial infiltrations, run offs from agricultural land, misconnections, and stormwater overflows. Our work included the rehabilitation of the sewer network, extensive tree and hedge planting to reduce run-off from farms, and additional fencing to prevent livestock entering watercourses. We also collaborated with 34 homeowners to fit centrally controlled smart water butts to help reduce storm overflows. Our team recommended and managed the implementation of a range of solutions many involving partnership working with community and environmental groups, agricultural businesses and local residents. Our collaborative approach was praised by the Environment Agency.

As a result of the remedial actions, the bathing water achieved ‘good’ status in November 2022 and Combe Martin can once again welcome visitors to its beaches and other attractions.

At a Glance

  • South West Water
Meet Our Team

Kate Harris, Principal Civil Engineer

I’m always looking for opportunities to drive efficient project delivery—it’s essential for our clients and the communities we work in.

Kate Harris

Principal Civil Engineer

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