September has ended, and so too has the bathing season with it’s weekly water quality testing. Thankfully the Safer Seas Service will continue to warn users in real-time, and for free, when sewage is discharged at 148 beaches nationwide. Several progressive water companies are continuing to voluntarily provide SAS with real-time data on their sewer overflow discharges.
Real-time information relating to raw sewage spills is vital throughout the year, especially in the autumn, winter and spring. These seasons not only provides the UK with our best swells, but also the heaviest rainfall events that will overpower sewerage systems across the UK. So make sure you download the free Safer Seas Service app to protect yourself from pollution events.
The Safer Seas Service will continue reporting all year round on:
- 27 beaches in the Wessex Water region, including Bournemouth Beaches Boscombe and Kimmeridge.
- 17 beaches in Northumbrian Water’s region, including Saltburn, Tynemouth and Roker.
- 24 beaches in Welsh Water’s region including Llantwit Major, Langland and Newgale.
- 12 beaches in Yorkshire Water’s region including Scarborough’s beaches (North, South & Cayton Bay), Staithes and Sandsend.
*South West Water is continuing to provide information at 68 beaches until the 1st November. After 1st November South West Water will continue to provide real-time information at 10 beaches including Godrevy, Fistral and Westward Ho! until 4th January. At which time South West Water will withhold the information until the following season.
Unfortunately other water companies have decided to stop providing SAS with information on their sewer overflow discharges. This information will be provided to the Safer Seas Service from the start of the next bathing season (15th May, 2015). There are 81 beaches that have immediately been taken offline within the Safer Seas Service, including:
- 22 beaches are now offline in the Southern Water region, including; all Isle of Wight beaches, Brighton beaches and Joss Bay.
- 48 beaches are now offline in the Anglian Water region, including; Cromer, Cleethorpes and Lowerstoft.
- 11 beaches are now offline in the United Utilities, including; Ainsdale, St. Annes and Blackpool beaches.
Surfers Against Sewage are continuing to call for the provision of this information to be made mandatory in our new Protect Our Waves All Party Group, meeting for the first time on 15th October.
The Pollution Risk Forecasts provided by the Environment Agency are also offline until the next bathing season. This is because the Environment Agency’s model is developed to predict the impacts of diffuse pollution during the bathing season only.
Whilst the Safer Seas Service reports the problems as they happen, SAS many other campaigns working to reduce the number of sewer overflow discharges, including:
Extending the bathing season to better represent the times of the year the public use the sea, with the period from Easter to the end of the October half term being our minimum recommendation. At a recent Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) consultation over 70% of the respondents called for a longer season. Regular water quality testing only occurs during the bathing season and CSO discharges are better regulated during this period.
Review the bathing water quality sampling spots to ensure results accurately represent what the public can expect to experience across designated recreational bathing waters. We believe that currently there are too many sample spots that are sited in areas that are unrepresentative of water quality in general and can mask poor water quality at some locations.
Whilst SAS will continue to campaign for year round real-time information on pollution incidents at all beaches impacted, it’s a great achievement to be continuing to provide this information at 148 beaches outside the bathing season.
Andy Cummins, SAS Campaigns Director