AN application to achieve bathing water status in Wallingford is due to be submitted in October this year.

This follows a campaign by residents and South Oxfordshire District Council representatives and if successful means the Environment Agency will monitor the water quality of the river during the bathing season, which runs from May 15 to September 30.

The stretch of river would become only the third in the country with the status if approved.

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District councillor and River Thames Champion Jo Robb, who has spearheaded the project, said: “I’m delighted that the River Thames is being put at the heart of our priorities and to see this project taking shape is very exciting.

“I am often contacted by residents asking whether the river is clean enough for children to swim in.

“Unfortunately, we simply don’t know. If granted, bathing water status will give residents essential real-time information about water quality and pollution.

“It will also give us greater powers to pressure Thames Water to improve the treatment works at Benson, upstream of Wallingford, which discharged raw sewage into the Thames for 870 hours in 2021.”

Recently, about 20 residents and councillors took part in water testing training, hosted by Thames21 and supported by the district council.

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Water testing will take place over 17 weeks. Volunteers will take water samples from eight sites between Abingdon and Wallingford, which will then be assessed by Thames Water’s scientists.

The results will provide evidence to support the district council’s application for bathing water status.


Read more from this author

This story was written by Gee Harland, she joined the team in 2022 as a senior multimedia reporter.

Gee covers Wallingford, Wantage and Didcot.

Get in touch with her by emailing:

Follow her on Twitter @Geeharland

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