Bathing waters: new directive, new standards, new quality approach

Catarina R. Mansilha*, Carla A. Coelho, Ana M. Heitor, João Amado, Joaquim P. Martins, Paula Gameiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Bathing water quality is an important public health issue, mainly because of fecal contamination. In 2006, the European Commission (EC) adopted a new directive with respect to recreational bathing waters that calls for stricter standards and reduces the number of laboratory tests done in routine beach monitoring from nineteen to two bacterial indicators, namely, Escherichia coli and intestinal enterococci, replacing policies of the EC Bathing Water Directive that have existed since 1976. Our practice in Portugal is in line with this international development, and this study demonstrates the equivalency of the new bacteriological parameters with the old. The water quality of 25 coastal beaches was surveyed using both new and old microbiological indicators of fecal contamination. Statistical analysis demonstrated equivalency of the results obtained for fecal coliforms with Escherichia coli and for fecal streptococci with intestinal enterococci.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1562-1565
Number of pages4
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Bathing Water Directive
  • Coastal water
  • Fecal indicator bacteria
  • Legislation
  • Method comparison
  • Statistical analysis
  • Water quality


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