Environment Agency investigates cause of ‘orange liquid’ washed up along Ramsgate’s coastline

The orange substance at Ramsgate Photo Rebecca Douglas

The Environment Agency is investigating the nature of ‘orange liquid’ which has washed up on Ramsgate Main Sands and the Eastcliff.

The unidentified substance has been reported to Port Control and the Coastguard. Thanet council notified the Environment Agency.

The liquid, which has stained the groynes at the Eastcliff, was spotted by resident Rebecca Douglas who made the report to the authorities.

Tests are being carried out but it is highly likely that it is ‘May water,’ caused by algae which normally colours the water black or brown.

The liquid was also spotted in West Mersea, Essex yesterday (May 1).

A spokesman for that borough council warned dog owners to keep pets on leads while the EA carried out tests to establish the cause.

An Environment Agency spokesperson said: “We’re continuing to receive reports from the public of an orange-coloured substance in the sea off various beaches in Essex and north Kent. We expect Cefas to report back to us today following laboratory tests on the substance.

“At this stage, we believe it’s a natural phenomenon and not considered harmful. However, as a precaution, local councils are recommending keeping dogs on leads and away from water until further notice.”

According to fishing forums the ‘colouring’ of May water means fish that are more dependent on sight for finding their food are the most affected., such as Mackerel and Plaice

Species like Dogfish and Smoothounds do not appear to be affected by the May water.


  1. Confirmed as algae..

    “The Environment Agency said it had been identified as a noctiluca bloom, which is not harmful and would naturally disperse on the tide.”

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