Project to boost quality of water sees improvements

Buuckshole reservoir
Buuckshole reservoir

A major project to improve the quality of the water that flows out to sea is seeing marked improvements, council bosses say.

The work started in June in Alexandra Park and the works are being funded by Hastings Borough Council and the Environment Agency (EA), with the aim of improving the bathing water quality at Pelham Beach.

Working in partnership with Southern Water and the EA, the council said this week that the park has seen some big improvements already during 2014.

New vegetation matting has been put in the streams, providing a trap for silt and bacteria and providing a great habitat for invertebrates such as dragonflies.

The ponds at the top of Buckshole reservoir have been treated and the environment improved.

Councillor Dawn Poole, the council’s lead member for parks, said: “We are determined to ensure the water in Alexandra Park is as clean as possible.

“We know that the water leaving Alexandra Park ends up in the sea, and by cleaning the water in the park, we clean the water on the beach.

“Water that runs off gardens, roads and houses around Alexandra Park all ends up in the park stream which then flows directly into the sea.

“We are now focusing our attention on pruning trees growing over the ponds to allow more light into the water as well as treating the major ponds and reservoirs in with a chalk based substance to help reduce harmful bacteria.

“The works are scheduled to start by the end of November with the tree works continuing through the winter period. We are using a natural, environmentally friendly product which is harmless to people and wildlife, including fish. Visitors to the park may see the ponds looking milky for a short while but this will be short-lived. It will help reduce silt levels; increase oxygenation and improve water quality; improve water clarity by settling suspended waterborne solids; reduce methane production; counteract acidity in the water and the silt; provide essential calcium for plants and wildlife; and increases biodiversity within the water.

“Please do contact our Parks Department if you wish to find out more about what we are doing to improve the water in Alexandra Park.”

In April the council’s cabinet committee reported that foul waste water from homes was being discharged into the sea, according to the latest quality review of the borough’s sea bathing waters.

Although water quality has improved steadily over recent years under a new more stringent European bathing water directive Hastings beach has to meet tougher standards set for 2015.