Families picnicking, sunbathing and swimming at Loch Lomond.

By Democrat reporter

Luss Bay on Loch Lomondside has been identified as one of the most polluted bathing waters in Scotland this summer.

A sample taken at the bay in early August was found to be six times higher than sewage safety limits.

The bay is one of the most popular swimming locations on the lochside with swimmers regularly diving into the icy waters off Luss Pier.

The sample was taken after torrential rain fell in the area on August 4, causing sewers to overflow and animal faeces to be washed into water courses running down from the hills into the bay, putting the health and safety of swimmers and tourists at risk.

However, samples taken later in the month were found to be within permitted levels.

A SEPA spokesperson said: “One of the biggest impacts on the water quality at bathing waters is due to the weather, especially heavy rain such as Scotland experienced recently.

“SEPA’s electronic signs and website provide real-time water quality predictions to the public and were used to provide advice against bathing for this reason.

“The recent high result reported at Luss Bay was as a result of the exceptionally high rainfall of 72mm in that area concentrated over a few hours in the preceding period.

“Two more recent samples show that levels of pollution have reduced significantly.”

A swimmer taking off from the pier at Balmaha on Loch Lomondside. Picture by Bill Heaney

Members of the public have been warned against going into the water at designated bathing beaches for one to two days after heavy rain because of the risk of pollution.

Green MSP Ross Greer, pictured left, who represents the West of Scotland region, believes more needs to be done to warn residents of the dangers of the contaminated waters.

“In the short term SEPA and the council need to make sure that the public health risk of bathing in the loch is clearly signposted in these periods of heightened contamination.

“Longer term, though, more investigatory work needs to be done into the specific sources of contamination and protective measures taken.

“The most immediate consequence of the climate crisis in the west of Scotland is increased rainfall, so we should be clear that local public health issues like this can only be tackled if we take action against that much wider crisis as well.”

Some of the crowd at Loch Lomond on a sunny day get ready to take the plunge at Luss Pier.

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