To protect public health and to assess whether the Water Quality Objective is met, a comprehensive beach monitoring programme has been implemented by the EPD. The Beach Monitoring Programme has the following six functions:
- to assess compliance with the Water Quality Objective;
- to detect any change in beach water quality;
- to identify polluted beaches that need remedial actions;
- to evaluate pollution abatement programmes;
- to decide on the opening of beaches; and
- to advise the public on the beach water quality status.
The beach monitoring work includes beach water sample collection, laboratory analysis and data management. During each beach monitoring visit, beach water samples are collected where the water depth is between thigh to waist depth i.e. about 1 metre depth for analysis of E. coli bacteria and physical measurements of pH, salinity and turbidity. The water samples are delivered to the laboratory for analysis as soon as sampling is completed and are stored at about 4°C during transportation. Dissolved oxygen concentration and temperature of the beach water are measured in-situ at each of the beaches and observations such as weather and beach conditions, are also recorded. The Beach Monitoring Programme covers 42 gazetted beaches and 2 non-gazetted beaches scattered in six different districts.
Beaches Monitored by the EPD
During bathing seasons, all beaches are monitored at least three times per month. To conform with the Water Quality Objective, the interval between the sampling occasions is maintained at 3 to 14 days. All data collected during the bathing season will be used for assessing the annual water quality trend of the beach.
During non-bathing seasons, gazetted beaches which remain open throughout the year are still monitored at least three times per month, all other beaches are monitored once per month.
|Beach monitoring frequencies|
(March to October)
(November to February)
|Gazetted beaches open all year round *||at least 3 times per month||at least 3 times per month|
|Other gazetted beach||at least 3 times per month||once per month|
|Non-gazetted beaches||at least 3 times per month||once per month|
* Clear Water Bay Second Beach, Deep Water Bay Beach, Golden Beach and Silverstrand Beach
Overview of various stages of the Beach Monitoring Programme
Operation of the beach water quality monitoring programme