The popular spots of Sandyhills, Dhoon Bay, Brighouse Bay, Rockcliffe and Mossyard have been found in breach of sewage safety limits this summer.
Sampling by SEPA revealed concentrations of two faecal bacteria, E Coli and intestinal enterococci, above European safety limits at all the locations. They can cause stomach, ear, nose and throat infections.
And on Tuesday of this week, SEPA posted ‘poor’ water quality forecasts for Sandyhills, Rockcliffe, Dhoon Bay and Brighouse Bay.
A statement on their website says: “All the main coastal sewage discharges in south west Scotland now have full biological treatment provided to protect the environment and bathing water quality.
“Much work is done to reduce run off from farms in the catchment areas into rivers and streams flowing to the sea near bathing waters.
“Despite these extensive improvements, the risk of short-lived pollution during or following substantial rainfall event remains.”
The figures have prompted calls for urgent action.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “Dumfries and Galloway boasts one of the most beautiful coastlines in the country and especially during the summer months, people flock to its beaches to walk, swim and take part in water sports.
“I was shocked to see five of our most popular and lovely beaches featured in this list of the most polluted in Scotland and I am calling for urgent action to help address these issues. In particular, we need more investment in sewer overflows to help prevent this issue getting any worse.
“These beaches are very important for tourism, which has already taken a terrible hit from Covid-19 and we cannot afford to see the industry which many people in our region rely on, suffer further.”
Meanwhile, the Marine Conservation Society advises anyone planning a beach visit to check SEPA’s daily pollution forecasts and avoid the water when the forecast is poor.
Beachline: 03000 99 66 99.
- Pictured above, bathers at Rockliffe earlier this month