Clean water campaigners Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are celebrating a major campaign victory as the States of Guernsey finally committed to full sewage treatment. This is great news for Guernsey’s recreational water users, bathers, water related businesses and the reputation of Guernsey. SAS have been campaigning on Guernsey for full sewage treatment since September 2004. During that period SAS has delivered nearly 20 actions calling for full sewage treatment while an estimated 6,574,500,000 gallons of wastewater and raw sewage has been dumped untreated into the sea off Guernsey.
Victory was almost in reach when the States of Guernsey’s Public Service Department proposed a wastewater charge. SAS supported this charge but called for commitment to full sewage treatment, a realistic timescale to deliver the sewage treatment and assurances that the wastewater charge would help fund full sewage treatment. All SAS’s stipulations were incorporated by deputy David De Lisle in his amendment. Yesterday, the De Lisle amendment was strongly supported and the final hurdle was cleared. A future with full sewage treatment will give recreational water users on Guernsey dramatically improved protection. It will support water related businesses and help enhance the image of Guernsey with an improved coastal environment for all to enjoy.
This campaign victory came on the back of 4 and a half years campaigning and 18 actions calling for full sewage treatment for Guernsey. Actions included packed public meetings with standing room only and superbly supported SAS petitions in 2004. Dr Loo landed on Guernsey to warn of a reduction in water quality in November 2005 and a 60 hour vigil on the steps of the State’s HQ in January 2006. 2007 saw port protests and surfing zombies lobbying the States and in 2008 SAS made full sewage treatment an election issue and towed the SAS 15ft inflatable turd with the slogan “VOTE FULL SEWAGE TREATMENT” around the island.
As great a success as this is, SAS will not stop here. The States of Guernsey have once before committed to full sewage treatment, over 12 years ago, only for it to drop off the agenda. But the introduction of a first time wastewater charge for islanders with a proportion of this charge being spent specifically on full sewage treatment plans will make Government u-turns much more difficult in the future.
Andy Cummins, SAS Campaigns Directorsays: “A commitment to introduce full sewage treatment in Guernsey is a superb campaign victory for SAS and great news for the health of all water users on Guernsey. A future with full sewage treatment will ensure the 4 million gallons of wastewater and sewage currently dumped untreated into the seas off Guernsey will be soon be clean and safe. Well done to the States for finally making the right move, we’ll be watching closely to make sure full sewage treatment goes through this time.”