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Quality of bathing waters in France : should holidaymakers be worried ?

The month of June sounds the return of the summer and the beginning of the holidays for many French people. For several weeks, holidaymakers will have a great time: nearly six in ten French people will go on holiday this summer. Among them, 45% choose the coastline, especially Brittany, Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, New Aquitaine and Languedoc Roussillon-Midi Pyrénées. Their free time is then essentially devoted to swimming and the beach. At a time when minds are more on vacation than at work, the OMPE has chosen to take an interest in the quality of bathing water in France. Should holidaymakers be worried ?


Water quality controlled

Each year, the Regional Health Agency (ARS) takes samples to control the quality of bathing water. These controls make it possible in particular to detect the presence of bacteria (Escherichia coli, intestinal enterococci) and pathogenic germs and generally study the microbiological life in order to prevent the associated health risks. Most of the pollution in bathing waters is due to wastewater and faecal contamination either by mammals or by man in particular. The checks carried out by the ARS to ascertain the quality of bathing water also take into account the presence of tarry residues, glass, plastic or other wastes.

Thus, the results are good when the analyzes of Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci do not exceed 100 CFU (colony-forming unit) / 100 mL of water. Beyond that, they are average and bad when they reach 2000 UFL / 100mL. If you plan to visit the coastline, know that the Regional Health Agency puts the results of its controls available, freely available on the website of the Ministries of Social Affairs and Health . At the end of the season, the ARS realizes and publishes a report where is carried the final ranking of all bathing sites. In the end, is the assessment of the quality of bathing water in France positive ?


94.1% of surveillance points deemed to comply with European regulations

If you are preparing to go on vacation on the coast, you can blow : overall, the quality of bathing water in France is satisfactory. In 2016, the proportion of bathing waters with excellent quality reached 77%. Only 2.4% of them did not have sufficient water quality. France is therefore one of the best students, alongside Luxembourg, Cyprus, Malta and Greece. But it has not always been so…

According to a report published in 2016 by the EEA (European Environment Agency), there were fewer bathing waters of sufficient quality (- 0.9%) and the number of sites rated “excellent quality” (78.1% in 2014). According to her, France still has efforts to provide because, according to the Water Framework Directive adopted in 2000, France should normally reach 100% of bathing water of sufficient quality in 2015.


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