This study investigated the impact of waterfowl on the bacteriological quality of village ponds in East Yorkshire, north-east England. Water and sediment samples were collected from ponds with and without resident ducks and geese; faecal indicator and potentially pathogenic bacteria were assayed by membrane filtration and by selective enrichment. Escherichia coli, faecal streptococci and, to a degree, Clostridium perfringens were more abundant in ponds with waterfowl; Salmonella was isolated in June–August from the sediment of a pond with waterfowl. The results suggested that the bacteriological quality of village ponds might be adversely affected by waterfowl. All water samples from ponds with waterfowl had faecal indicators at higher concentrations than EU requirements for bathing waters. Although these ponds are not bathing waters we suggest skin contact and accidental ingestion of water should be avoided.