SWIMMERS have been advised not to bathe in the water at Burnham-on-Sea's beach due to concerns about pollution. 

Sedgemoor District Council put signs in place on Tuesday, August 23 advising visitors against swimming in the sea because of “poor water quality”.

It comes after a holidaymaker said the water was “disgusting” when he visited with his family on Saturday, August 14. 

The district council has said the pollution is “mainly water-bourne” and “entirely due to the natural elements” following recent storms.

The Environment Agency has increased its resources to investigate build-ups of pollution like this but says it can be difficult to determine where it comes from.

Holidaymaker Chris Cass was taken aback by the pollution when he visited Burnham with his wife Liz and two sons, Dylan and Oscar.

He said: “I live up north in Sheffield but used to live in Woolavington when I was younger and used to love coming Burnham-on-Sea.

“I come down to Somerset a couple of times a year to visit family in the area and always visit Burnham.

“I bought my family down a week ago and went to Burnham in the early evening of August 14.

Somerset County Gazette: Swimmers have been temporarily advised not to swim in the sea at Burnham due to water quality concerns.Swimmers have been temporarily advised not to swim in the sea at Burnham due to water quality concerns. (Image: Archive)

“We went for a little paddle in the water then realised that it was full of poo. I cannot believe that I unknowingly put my family in danger like that, it's disgusting and not good enough.

“To top the lot, when we got out of the water, I was trying to clean my footwear off stood on the jetty and I fell in the water up to my neck – there was literally poo floating in front of my face.

“Although I can see the funny side of it, it is a good job that I didn't get ill from it.”

Signs advising beach-goers to avoid the water were present on Burnham's jetty this week and red flags have been placed on the beach.

A spokesperson for Sedgemoor District Council said: “The pollution is mainly water-bourne. 

“The lifeguards have put up the red flags to warn visitors and residents of the dangers of swimming in polluted water from across the catchment area, which is due to a variety of reasons. 

“Swimming is not banned, just not advised. People can make their own choices whether or not to swim and risk a nasty bout of illness. 

“It is entirely due to the natural elements due to the storms and has affected many beaches and rivers.”

There were thunderstorms and periods of wet weather earlier this month after a prolonged spell of hot weather.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “Due to the heavy rain, establishing the source of pollution on beaches can be difficult as it is likely to have been washed down from much further afield.

“However, we are currently putting extra resources into looking at these kinds of incident. It is for local authorities to decide upon closing beaches to bathing.”

The Safer Seas and Rivers Service's app monitors water quality in real time to protect water users from pollution.

The service alerts swimmers and surfers when sewer overflows discharge untreated sewage into the sea and when water quality is reduced “due to heavy rainfall and pollution incidents”.

There have been no sewage pollution alerts at Burnham Jetty North since June 5.

However, its interactive map said “storm sewage” was discharged at Minehead Terminus in the 48 hours before August 16.