This year, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) asked all UK water companies if they had any plans to reduce their sewage treatment outside the bathing season (May – September). Outside the bathing season is usually the best period for surf in the UK and reducing sewage treatment increases the health risks for surfers and waveriders.

When SAS asked Scottish Water if they planned to reduce their sewage treatment, thus increasing the health risk to surfers and waveriders, they replied with “It is not a question of switching off treatment outside the bathing season, but rather switching on extra treatment during it”. Just how stupid do they think we are?

Pease Bay is one of the places Scottish Water plan to reduce the levels of sewage treatment outside the bathing season. It is also one of Scotland’s most popular surfing breaks, consistently producing its best surf from September to April, and therefore is most heavily used outside the bathing season.

We therefore call on the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to immediately revise the Water Use License so that tertiary level treatment remains an all year-round process for Cove STW, until such time that it is shown that recreational water users do not suffer a reduced threat to their health from turning off the UV-light disinfection process here, or it is found that recreational water user numbers are not using this beach in significant numbers on a regular basis outside the bathing season.

SAS applaud water companies all over the UK who are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, however, this cannot come at the cost of increased health risks for surfers and waveriders. SAS are calling on water companies to generate clean and sustainable energy through their sewage treatment process and embrace new technologies that will allow them to harness more of this energy and increase efficiency.

In 2008, SAS successful campaigned against Northumbrian Water reducing their levels of treatment outside the bathing season and as a result the Environment Agency (EA) has ruled that water companies must prove an absence of water users and impact on water quality before they can switch off the treatment. SAS believe this sets a strong precedent and believes that SEPA should provide the Scottish public with the same levels of protection.

If you plan to use Pease Bay outside the bathing season please sign our petition. This will help SAS to demonstrate to SEPA that Pease Bay is well used outside the bathing season and a significant number of water users are being put at risk from Scottish Water’s actions.