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As the summer season approaches, the Finnish Regional State Administrative Agency (AVI) has reviewed the list of public beaches in its jurisdiction. The national list, which is published on the website of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira), is also shared with the European Commission for the benefit of travelers. The AVI has made updates to the list of public beaches for the summer of 2023, based on information provided by municipal health authorities.

The list of public beaches in the Southern Finland AVI region has undergone some revisions. Lohja's Moisio Beach has been classified as having poor water quality for five consecutive years, leading to its removal from the list in compliance with the bathing water regulation. The local health authority has imposed a swimming ban at the beach for at least one bathing season.

Additionally, two other beaches were removed from the Southern Finland AVI list due to organizational changes, as they were transferred to the jurisdiction of the Southwest Finland AVI unit starting from the beginning of 2023. On the positive side, one new public beach, Tervajärvi Beach in Porvoo, has been added to the list. The water quality classification of a few other beaches has also changed compared to the previous bathing season.

The Southern Finland AVI region now has 103 public beaches, whose water quality is regularly monitored by municipal health authorities. It is the responsibility of municipalities to provide certain information about public beaches, as mandated by the bathing water regulation. However, at the time of the review in weeks 18-19, the information on municipal websites did not meet all the requirements of the regulation. Some municipalities had not yet updated the latest water quality classifications on their pages. The AVI expects these updates to be made by the municipalities during May, ensuring that the information is up-to-date before the start of the swimming season.

Public beach owners or custodians, typically municipalities, are required to publish and keep the following information up-to-date on their websites:

  1. The latest water quality test results.
  2. The water quality classification for the past three years, based on the results of the last four bathing seasons.
  3. A water profile, including a description of the beach and water characteristics, as well as a risk assessment.

Municipal health authorities bear the responsibility of overseeing the public beaches. This involves regular monitoring and inspections, with a particular focus on water quality. Water samples are collected at least three times during the bathing season, including one sample before the season begins.

The public has the opportunity to suggest the addition of new beaches to the list of public beaches. This ensures that heavily frequented beaches are subject to regular monitoring. Suggestions for adding beaches to the list can be submitted to the municipal health authorities. Detailed instructions for making these proposals can be obtained directly from the respective authorities.

The AVI guides municipalities in compiling the list of public beaches and in monitoring them. The agency provides the revised list to the National Institute for Health and Welfare, which creates a national summary. The national list is published on Valvira's website and submitted to the European Commission. The European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes comprehensive information on public beaches across the entire EU on its website. This includes the latest annual report on water quality at the beaches. Such information can be useful, especially for travelers.

As Finland's swimming season commences, the AVI and municipal health authorities are committed to ensuring the safety and cleanliness of public beaches. By conducting thorough monitoring, implementing swimming bans when necessary, and providing up-to-date information to the public, they aim to create enjoyable swimming environments for all. The collaborative efforts between authorities and beachgoers contribute to maintaining the high standards of water quality in Finland's public beaches.

HT

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