Teams from Natural Resources Wales are visiting beaches across Wales to take the first of over 2000 samples of the 2014 bathing water season.
Every year, the organisation tests each one of the 102 bathing waters 20 times during the season, which runs from 15 May to 30 September.
Water samples are taken away, analysed in a specialist laboratory and assessed against a set criteria for bathing water.
At the end of the season the results will be compiled for each bathing water and used to assess the water as ‘poor’, ‘sufficient’, ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. This will determine the classification for next year.
These are new standards introduced by the EU and are twice as tough as those used previously.
Current predictions indicate that 97% of beaches in Wales are on track to meet the ‘sufficient’ standard next year, with 70% of those predicted to meet the ‘excellent’ standard.
Andy Schofield, from Natural Resources Wales said:
“We’ve done a lot of work to improve the quality of our bathing waters, and combined with huge investment by water companies, our bathing waters are now cleaner than they’ve been in over 20 years.
“However, we cannot be complacent, and there is still work to do to improve our water quality further, particularly in tackling smaller, less obvious sources of pollution from our urban and rural environments which can have a cumulative impact.
“We’ll continue to work with water companies, local authorities, industry, farmers and communities to make this happen.
“We have some wonderful beaches in Wales of which we are extremely proud, and it’s important that everyone does their bit to help maintain and improve their quality.”
To help people make informed choices about bathing, Natural Resources Wales is currently developing a new mobile app which will give people the latest information about the quality of bathing water before they take a dip.
Initially only available for android users, the free app will be available from the Google Play store in the coming weeks. It will also be developed for Windows phone and IPhone.
During May, Natural Resources Wales and Welsh Government are running a campaign celebrating the Wales Coast Path, two years since it was officially opened.