Both the Blue Flag organisation and the Marine Conservation Society demand strict standards for their water quality of an award beach.
Awards are given to beaches where 80-90% of at least 20 water samples taken during the summer season the previous year comply with international standards for safe bathing water. In addition there must be no gross pollution by sewage or other waste including litter or industrial or urban discharge between high and low water.
The standards for water quality are due to change in 2015 as a result of the revised bathing water directive.
The waters in Torbay are tested by the Environment Agency Opens in a new window with samples being taken at intervals throughout the bathing season.