Water quality


  1. Overview
  2. Drinking waters
  3. Coastal waters


Generally, water quality issues are looked after by the Environment Agency.

This national environmental regulator is responsible for controlling discharges to:

  • rivers
  • lakes
  • coastal waters
  • and, other water courses

It also looks after flood defence issues and the drinking water resources.

If you notice a problem please contact the Environment Agency.

Drinking water

Northumbria Water is responsible for the quality of our drinking water supplies.

If you have a problem related to the quality of your drinking water please contact your supplier direct. 

Coastal waters

Certain coastal waters used for bathing and recreation are designated under the Bathing Waters Directive. 

A new classification system for bathing waters was introduced in 2015, with councils required to provide information on the more stringent standards during the bathing season, which runs from 15 May to 30 September each year. 

Each bathing water beach is given one of the following annual classifications:

  • Excellent - the highest, cleanest class
  • Good - generally good water quality
  • Sufficient - the water meets minimum standards
  • Poor - the water has not met the minimum standards. Work is planned to improve bathing waters not yet reaching Sufficient.

In South Tyneside, there are two designated bathing waters located at Sandhaven Beach and Marsden Beach.  These waters were designated with the classification Excellent and Good respectively for 2016.

For further information please visit the The Beach Guide: Tyne And Wear Beaches and The Beach Guide: 2022 Marine Conservation Society Recommended beaches.