Estonian lakes and rivers scored highest on an overview of the quality of bathing water recently published by the European Environment Agency.
The water quality is excellent in most of Estonia's inland swimming areas. Samples were taken from 28 inland bodies of water. Of these, the quality was "excellent" in 26, according to the European Commission's office in Estonia. In the other two, the quality was "good." The main criterion was testing for enterococci and E. coli.
That level of 92.8% was followed by Germany (90.2%) and Austria (83.5%), where samples were taken from 1 938 and 267 bodies of water respectively. Finland had a score of 80.3% and Latvia, 64.3%.
As far as seaside sites, Estonia's results were not stellar. Cyprus, Malta and Greece were the leaders scoring close to 100 percent "excellent," but only 13 of the 27 beaches sampled in Estonia, 44%, were in that category. That was a drop of over 20 percentage points from 2010. Finland's mark was 70% and Latvia's was 43.8%. However, over 80 percent of Estonian beaches were in the "excellent" or "good" categories.
The two seaside sites that received a "poor" quality rating, Pärnu and Pedeli, exceeded levels for coliform bacteria. But there were no closures; the readings were considered the result of short-term pollution events and the study noted that the samples were taken during bad weather.
Quality of Estonia's Inland Swimming Water Best in Europe