Water quality and pollution, Floating Harbour and rivers

Report pollution, get the latest water quality test results and health information.

Report pollution

Floating Harbour
Contact the Harbour Master on 0117 903 1484, if you want to report oil pollution in the Floating Harbour.

Contact the Environment Agency on 0800 807 060, if you want to report pollution from oil, sewerage or hazardous waste in a river.

Floating Harbour

Water quality test results
Measure: Escherichia coliforms (counts per 100ml)

Weekly tests, 9 January 2018

  • Baltic Wharf: 1046
  • St Augustine's Reach: 1374
  • Prince Street Bridge: 1616
  • Redcliffe Bridge: 1722

Monthly tests, 12 December 2017

  • SS Great Britain: 8664
  • Castle Tunnels: 15531
  • Bristol Bridge: 24196
  • Netham Lock: 17329
  • Cumberland Basin: 17329

Water Quality Advisory Notice - 12 December 2017 (pdf, 493k) (opens new window)

Swimming is not allowed in the Floating Harbour.

Water quality can be affected by heavy rainfall, contamination from further up river, drainage problems or discharges from boats and wildlife.

The water is regularly tested for bacteria at several sample sites (Google map) around Bristol. If E.Coli levels go above 5000 counts per 100ml at the Baltic Wharf site or across all other sites, a warning notice will be displayed on this website and at Baltic Wharf, outside the Harbour Master’s Office. You should avoid using the harbour during this time. Daily testing will be carried out until levels improve.


Local rivers are regularly tested for bacteria at several sample sites (Google map).

Water quality test results
Data showing water quality in rivers around Bristol, from 1995 to present is available on DATA.GOV.UK.

Health information

There are some risks to health from contact with Bristol’s open water. These include stomach, ear, nose and throat infections.

Risks can be reduced by following these simple steps:

  • avoid touching your face, eating, drinking or smoking during water activities
  • wash or shower afterwards
  • avoid any unnecessary contact with the water, especially getting your head wet
  • cover cuts with waterproof dressings
  • wear footwear to protect feet from cuts
  • clean cuts straightaway

Contact your doctor straightaway if you develop diarrhoea, vomiting or flu-like symptoms after contact with open water.

Contact information

Sustainability Team (Create)

Bristol City Council

PO Box 3176

Bristol, BS3 9FS

Opening Hours


Contact details

Email: sustainable.city@bristol.gov.uk

Tel: 0117 352 5894