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Arpae Emilia-Romagna
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Frequently Asked Questions

Which informations can i desume about bathing water?

The regional website reports, for the entire bathing season, information on the health quality of bathing water deriving from the analysis of samples and, during the period of bathing activities, also those deriving from information received by the competent authorities . The contents of the site supplements the information that, under existing legislation, are distributed by municipalities. 

Municipalities are responsible for the management of the signs affixed near each bathing water regarding:

  • delimitation of areas not apt for bathing activities and therefore permanently banned;
  • delimitation of the areas affected by temporary prohibition of bathing activities;
  • information on the main characteristics of each bathing water.


Are there areas of the coast of Emilia-Romagna in which bathing is permanently prohibited?

In the coast of Emilia-Romagna bathing is allowed everywhere, except:

  • within a 150 m radius near the access of harbours (because of the passage of crafts);
  • landing corridors for pleasure-traffic crafts, adequately indicated;
  • within 100 m from artificial reefs under construction;
  • within 50 m North and South of water drawing/wastewater draining pipes and mouths of rivers;
  • permanently or temporarily prohibited zones (beacause of pollution, precence of military areas, fishing areas etc.).

The permanent bathing prohibition is determined by an ordinance the Region takes before the bathing season begins.


What does "bathing water" mean?

"Bathing water" means any element of surface water where the competent authority expects a large number of people to bathe and has not imposed a permanent bathing prohibition, or issued permanent advice against bathing. It can therefore include sea, river or lake tracts. The following waters are not included amongst bathing waters:

  • swimming pools and spa pools;
  • confined waters subject to treatment or used for therapeutic purposes;
  • artificially created confined waters separated from surface water and groundwater.


What are intestinal enterococci?

Intestinal Enterococci are spherical bacteria (cocci) arranged in chains; they are part of human and animal intestinal microbial flora. Their presence is an indicator of faecal contamination. The accepted limit for marine waters is 200 CFU/100 ml.


What are Escherichia coli?

Escherichia coli are bacteria living in the lower part of the intestine of warm-blooded animals (birds and mammals, including humans). They are necessary for the correct digestion of food. Their presence in water bodies indicates the presence of fecal contamination (it is the main index, together with enterococci). Each human expels from 100 billions (10^11) to 10 trilions (10^19) of Escherichia coli cells every day. The limit for bathing water is 500 UFC/100 ml.


What is a "bathing water profile"?

A bathing water profile is a document consisting of a description of the physical, geographical and hydrological characteristics of the bathing water, the location of the monitoring point, an identification and assessment of causes of pollution that might affect bathing waters and impair bathers´ health, an assessment of the potential for proliferation of cyanobacteria, macro-algae and/or phytoplankton


What does "short-term pollution" mean?

"Short-term pollution" means microbiological contamination that has clearly identifiable causes, is not normally expected to affect bathing water quality for more than approximately 72 hours after the bathing water quality is first affected and for which the competent authority has established procedures to predict and deal with in Annex II of the Directive 2006/7/EC.


What does "abnormal situation" mean?

"Abnormal situation" means "an event or combination of events impacting on bathing water quality at the location concerned and not expected to occur on average more than once every four years".


What does "management measures" mean?

"Management measures" are the following measures undertaken with respect to bathing water:

(a) establishing and maintaining a bathing water profile;

(b) establishing a monitoring calendar;

(c) monitoring bathing water;

(d) assessing bathing water quality;

(e) classifying bathing water;

(f) identifying and assessing causes of pollution that might affect bathing waters and impair bathers´ health;

(g) giving information to the public;

(h) taking action to prevent bathers´ exposure to pollution;

(i) taking action to reduce the risk of pollution;

(j) taking action to eliminate the causes of pollution and improve bathing water quality.


What are "monitoring points"?

A "monitoring point" is the location within the bathing water where most bathers are expected or the greatest risk of pollution is expected, according to the bathing water profile. One monitoring point is identified inside each bathing water: it is the point where all the sampling are done, according to the monitoring calendar set by the legislation.


What does "pollution" mean?

"Pollution" means the presence of microbiological contamination or other organisms or waste affecting bathing water quality and presenting a risk to bathers´ health.


What does "bathing season" mean?

The "bathing season" is the period from 1 May to 30 September, except for special cases due to climatic reasons, when sea water is used for bathing purposes. Regions shall define the actual duration, considering local demands or habits.


When and how can a temporarily bathing prohibition be removed?

Waters affected by a temporary bathing prohibition can return open if a favorable analysis result certifies the end of the situation of pollution and the re-establishment of the original quality of the bathing water.


When is a temporary bathing prohibition imposed?

A temporary bathing prohibition is imposed when a sample is unfavorable (Escherichia coli >500 UFC/100ml and/or intestinal enterococci >200 UFC/100ml). In this case, the mayor decrees the closing of the concerned bathing water.


Can bathing waters classified as excellent, good or sufficient face a temporary bathing prohibition?

The classification of bathing waters is not equivalent to bathing permission. Therefore, bathing waters classified as excellent, good or sufficient can get a temporary bathing prohibition because of non compliant analysis results or management measures taken in order to prevent bathers´ exposure to pollution.

For bathin waters classified as "poor" the bathing prohibition is compulsory, at least until the causes of pollution have been identified and their reduction/elimination allows a classification at least as "sufficient".


When is a permanent bathing prohibition imposed?

If a bathing water is classified as "poor" for five consecutive years, a permanent bathing prohibition or permanent advice against bathing shall be introduced.


Can bathing be allowed in waters classified as "poor"?

No, for bathin waters classified as "poor" the bathing prohibition is compulsory, at least until they improve to a classification at least as "sufficient".


When and how can bathing be allowed again in "poor" bathing waters?

All management measures shall be taken in order to identify and reduce/remove the causes of the pollution. After this, a new classification can be done. The results will show if bathing can be allowed again.