Clean water campaigners Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are supporting the De Lisle/Fallaize amendment to the Public Services Department proposal for first time wastewater charges to be introduced in Guernsey.

The new amendment tabled by Deputy David De Lisle and seconded by Matt Fallaize is an improvement on the Public Service Departments’ proposal for islanders. It calls on the States to commit to “full sewage treatment” with the relevant work needed, to be funded by the “ring-fenced additional fixed charge”. The amendment calls for these commitments within an achievable timescale. SAS has urged all Deputies to support this amendment.

The De Lisle/Fallaize amendment could be agreed at the States meeting on Wednesday, making ‘full sewage treatment’ a real possibility for Guernsey. This States meeting comes 3 years on after SAS started their Guernsey Sewage Counter. In that time, over 4,380,000,000 gallons of wastewater and untreated sewage have been dumped into the sea around Guernsey.

SAS have been campaigning for full sewage treatment in Guernsey since 2004, yet despite several close calls the Government have yet to commit to a modern and efficient treatment plant that would end the daily discharge of raw sewage to Bellegreve Bay.

Wastewater charges have helped countries like the UK deliver a massive coastal clean up as new technologies can ‘make safe’ sewage effluent before it is discharged back to the sea. These technologies have not only restored faith in the quality of coastal water amongst those that use the ocean most, such as surfers, but have also led to local business expansion as visitors now return year on year to resorts that were previously ‘no go zones’ due to sewage pollution.

SAS believe a wastewater charge could be the saviour of a Guernsey tourist industry, which is becoming increasingly vulnerable to large-scale sewage pollution incidents, such as the one that led to the August 2008 island-wide beach closures.

Andy Cummins, SAS Campaigns Manager says: “This amendment not only supports SAS’s concerns over the current and unsatisfactory method of sewage disposal but also sets defined timescales for how a waste water charge will directly fund improvements to bring full sewage treatment. In the last 3 years at least 4,380,000,000 gallons of wastewater and sewage have been dumped around the coast of Guernsey. Guernsey has waited long enough for full sewage treatment and is suffering without it. SAS urge Deputies to support the De Lisle/Fallaize amendment.”