A £2.7 million scheme has begun to bring bathing water in Worthing up to ‘excellent’ standard.

Worthing is among seven areas selected by Southern Water to receive money from the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme.

Middleton-on-Sea has also received £1.2 million from the £31.5 million scheme, which Southern Water said was the first of its kind in the UK.

Brian Roussell, programme manager for Southern Water, said:

“The South East’s bathing waters are already among the cleanest in the UK, but our customers have asked us to do more to help them get even better.

“We’re working in seven areas, including Worthing, to help them reach the highest rating of ‘excellent’ by 2020 and stay there.

“This means bathing water will be cleaner than ever, which is good news for local people and the environment.”

Southern Water said they are currently speaking to hundreds of customers in the Worthing area to help trace property ‘misconnections’.

That means situations where pipes meant to carry waste water from kitchens, toilets and bathrooms are incorrectly plumbed into surface mains.

Waste water is then pumped out to sea before it can be treated at water plants, affecting the quality of bathing water.

Southern Water said they would work with Adur and Worthing councils, property owners and businesses to correct misconnections.

Most of the work is being carried out on public land, but surveyors are also carrying out checks on local homes and businesses.

Mr Roussell added:

“We want to thank customers for their help during this first phase as we locate misconnected pipes, as this will form a major of part of improving bathing water quality for us all to enjoy.”