Harbour dredging works will not compromise water quality, says council

Dark-coloured sand and water has been pumped from the harbour across the beach and into the sea over the past week (photo by Jeanne Goodridge)

DORSET Council has assured beach-goers in Lyme Regis that there has been “no compromise in water quality” caused by recent harbour dredging works. 

Those visiting the town’s main beach will have seen sand and water being pumped from the harbour, across the sandy beach and into the sea over the past week.

The water has often looked dark in colour and has changed the colour of the sandy beach in places, leaving some concerned that it is not safe.

Residents have taken to social media to question whether it is still safe to go in the sea while the work is being carried out, and have expressed concerns over the darkened appearance of the beach and water quality.

One said she was concerned that the water had made her child ill and another said it had stained their paddleboard.

A spokesperson for Dorset Council said: “The dredging is part of an approved package of works to maintain flood defences provided by the sand beach in addition to maintaining the navigable channel on the approaches to Lyme Regis harbour.

“The material being deposited on the beach is predominantly sand with a small amount of organic matter. Material that has not been exposed to the air for a period of time can be dark in colour but once it has been washed or moved around by wave action it becomes lighter in colour.

“Markers have been set up around the discharge point to warn of the hazard but there is no compromise in water quality. We recommend people maintain a safe distance from the end of the pipe and avoid swimming near it.

“We anticipate works continuing for another week or so.”

harbour dredging beach
The dredging work has darkened the sand on Lyme Regis beach (photo by Gillian Tattershall)
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Woodmead Halls


  1. I couldn’t find anywhere online saying when dredging will finish on sandy beach part of Monmouth Beach and it will reopen. I drove 40 miles here from my home so very disappointed

    • Hi Linda, sorry you were disappointed. We did not know in advance that the beach would be closed this week, until it was cordoned off yesterday. It will reopen at 5pm Friday.

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