Water Quality

Last Updated: 14 May 2024


Holme Pierrepont Country Park home of the National Water Sports Centre has a wide range of water sports and activities that take place in open and natural waters. This natural and beautiful environment is one of the main attractions of the site, but as with any open water it is important to observe some simple rules to remain safe and healthy.

The water facilities at Holme Pierrepont Country Park are supplied from a variety of sources including surface streams and the River Trent. The water quality is monitored carefully for indicators of bacteria activity. These indicators are a forecast of the likelihood of the presence of harmful bacteria, the forecast indicators are reviewed against microbiological sample results to monitor their effectiveness.

The below information details potential risk to health that exists in any open water but please remember that the vast majority of water users at the site have no problem at all and by remaining mindful and following the tips below the risks are further decreased. Stay safe and healthy.

Whilst enjoying your water sports always remember to:

  • Avoid undue immersion in natural waters
  • Avoid swallowing the water
  • Cover minor scratches or cuts with a water proof plaster
  • Wash or shower as soon as possible after water sports and before eating or drinking
  • Use footwear to protect your feet
  • Rinse equipment with clean water after use
  • Clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water

Open Water Swimming events:

  • The water quality is carefully monitored prior to your swim
  • Water bodies for swimming are chosen carefully due to their regular low microbiological activity
  • For more information visit; Swim healthy - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

White Water and Lagoon Water Quality indicators point to:

Water Quality: Orange

What do the different traffic lights mean?

Red – Any duplicated microbiological sample above the good parameters. Activities will be modified to prevent or reduce emersion. Indicators of severe pollution will result in the closure of certain bodies of water.

Amber – Any microbiological reading above the good parameters results. Amber and/or any other indicators such as heavy rainfall, known local pollution or high turbidity* that is not proven through microbiological testing but are a cause for concern. Activities will not be modified.

Green – Indicators point to water quality being good. Activities will not be modified. Microbiological sampling is the main indicator of water quality, samples are taken weekly from used bodies of water and sent to a laboratory for testing.

More information can be found here

Specifically for White Water:

Turbidity is the measure of suspended very fine particles in the water. Whilst the testing can show the level of Turbidity, it does not detail the source and/or reason for the particles. High turbidity levels can be a concern as it indicates that dissolvable materials have entered the water. 

What kind of illness may occur?

The vast majority of people using Holme Pierrepont Country Park facilities have no ill effects at all. Most symptoms of illnesses caused by micro-organisms such as norovirus, giardia and cryptosporidium, will generally be mild. However, there is also a risk of more severe infections caused by micro-organisms such as E.coli O157 which may cause severe gastrointestinal illness and leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), which can cause liver and kidney problems. Should any of these symptoms occur you are advised to consult a doctor.


Leptospirosis (Weil’s Disease)

Human infection usually comes from organisms shed in the urine of infected animals. Infections can range from a mild flu-like illness to a serious illness requiring hospital treatment and sometimes leading to kidney or liver failure. When jaundice occurs (from liver failure) the illness, known as Weil’s disease, can be fatal and is a noticeable illness, but it is fortunately a very rare occurrence.


How is the disease caught?

The infection which causes Weil’s disease is commonly carried by rats and excreted in rat urine, which contaminates water and wet river banks. This bacteria does not survive in dry conditions. The likelihood of becoming infected is decreased in swift moving streams and rivers than stagnant or slow moving waterways, particularly in high water conditions. The infection can enter the body through skin abrasions or through eyes, nose and mouth. It can enter the bloodstream more rapidly through minor cuts in skin, especially on the feet, or if you roll or do capsize drill.


Hepatitis A (Infectious Hepatitis)

Hepatitis A is a virus infection of the liver which can vary from mild or non-apparent illness to (rarely) a severe disabling disease lasting several months. The infection is caused by swallowing food or water contaminated with the virus which is present in faeces of infected patients and in waters contaminated with sewage. Infection may also be caused by swallowing water during sports. The incubation period varies from 2 to 6 weeks after swallowing the virus. The onset illness is abrupt, with loss of appetite, fever, nausea and abdominal discomfort, followed within a few days by jaundice. If you become ill at any time with these symptoms, call your doctor and tell them you have participated in water sports activities.


Blue Green Algae can appear in any inland water body during prolonged periods of warm settled weather.

What is it?

Blue-green algae generally grow in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams when the water is warm and enriched with nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen.

What problems do blue-algae cause?

The water may be discoloured green, blue-green or greenish brown and several species can produce musty, earthy or grassy odours. Blooms can also cause foaming on the shoreline which is sometimes confused with sewage pollution. Some bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins. These toxins can kill wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets. They can also be harmful to human health.

What are the health risks?

Blue-green algae are capable of producing several different toxins. People may be exposed to these toxins through contact with the skin (e.g. when swimming), through inhalation or by swallowing contaminated water.

These toxins can cause skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, stomach pains, fever and headaches. Occasionally they can cause more serious illness such as liver and brain damage. Children are at greater risk than adults of developing problems because of their comparative lower body weight.

How can the health risks be minimised?

Not all blue-green algae blooms and scums are toxic but it is not possible to tell from appearance and so it’s best to assume they are harmful and take the following precautions:
• Do not swim in the water
• Do not swallow the water
• Avoid contact with the algae
• All users especially beginners should consider their ability to remain out of the water

Anyone who has come into contact with water containing blue-green algae should shower with fresh water immediately. Anyone who has come into contact with affected water and has become ill should obtain medical attention and inform site staff.

What activities are affected?

There are currently no signs of Blue Green Algae.

What should I do if I become ill?

Whilst it is extremely rare to contract these infections, there is a risk in any open water and therefore it is important to be informed and to follow the preventative measures shown in this leaflet. Common symptoms are sudden onset of fever, intense headache, sickness, diarrhea, severe pains in calf and back muscles, red eyes and prostration. If you have any illness after water sports go straight to your GP and tell them about your participation and do not go swimming again until the symptoms are completely gone.

Please make us aware of any illness by contacting us