Water quality testing

Bristol City Council testing of water quality in the Floating Harbour was suspended with the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020. Following enquiries by Friends of Bathurst Basin, testing water quality had been resumed in Bathurst Basin in August 2019 after a seven-year period without tests. Floating Harbour testing was resumed on 7th July 2020, but not for Bathurst Basin.

Taken in March this year, the last reading in Bathurst Basin was E Coli 4,640CFU.  An E Coli reading above 5,000CFU in Baltic Wharf would trigger daily testing throughout the Harbour and people would be advised to avoid using the harbour. Bathurst Basin is chosen by canoeists, kayakers, paddle-boarders as there is little or no marine traffic to disturb them. Regular water quality checks in the Basin are important – and possibly more so than those currently being made close to Prince Street Bridge or St Augustine’s Reach, where leisure activities are rare.


The Council allows fishing in Bathurst Basin and recent catches provide less formal evidence of water quality. Matt Barnsley (top image) caught (and released) a splendid sea bass off the Lower Guinea Street quayside and Jamie Brown caught his perch off the Bathurst Parade quay.