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Bathing water quality

What's new ?

  • 10/07/2015: Call for tender (framework contract) "Water for Citizens - Support to Commission policy activities on the Bathing Water, Drinking Water and Urban Waste Water Treatment Directives" launched! Deadline to send applications 15/09/2015. More information is available here!
  • 20/05/2015: Report de English fr and news release on European bathing water quality in 2014 published!

    Also watch Commissioner Vella's video message on Europe's bathing waters!  So next time you take a dip, remember that the EU played a part in keeping your bathing water safe and clean !


    Spread the news #EUbathing tweet
  • 31/01/2015: Following the Call for applications for participation in a European Commission Informal Expert Group on the implementation of the Bathing Water Directive, five stakeholders as observers were successfully assessed.  Further details on this expert group can be found in the Register of Commission Expert Groups.



EU at the forefront to protect bathers' health!

The latest EEA report confirms that bathing waters in Europe are of high quality, with 95 % of these sites meeting minimum water quality standards set out in EU legislation.

Bathing water policy is one of the success stories in EU water policy and important to protect human health and the environment. 

© Peter Kristensen

Since the 1970s, the EU has had rules in place to safeguard public health and clean bathing waters. The revised Bathing Water Directive (BWD) of 2006 updated and simplified these rules. It requires Members States to monitor and assess the bathing water for at least two parameters of (faecal) bacteria. In addition, they must inform the public about bathing water quality and beach management, through the so-called bathing water profiles. These profiles contain for instance information on the kind of pollution and sources that affect the quality of the bathing water and are a risk to bathers' health (such as waste water discharges).

In this light, the Commission introduced a symbol on bathing water classification in 2011.

The BWD also complements other environmental policy:

Information to the public: the bathing water report

Every year the Commission and the European Environment Agency publish a summary report on the quality of bathing water, based on the information provided by Member States. The report tracks the water quality at more than 21 000 bathing sites across the EU, Switzerland and Albania.

EU Reports: 2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 and national country reports.


eeasWant to know the status of your favourite bathing spot?

Check out the EEAs interactive map and tabular viewers.


Have a question or comment?  Contact us!