Surfers Against Sewage Warns of 1,496 Pollution Events This Last Bathing Season

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) have warned the public of almost 1,500 separate pollution incidents from 786 separate sewer overflow discharges and 771 predicted diffuse pollution events that occurred at UK beaches during the this last years ‘Bathing Season’ in England and Wales. This resulted in 212,772 real-time pollution warnings being issued to subscribers to their Safer Seas Service.

The Safer Seas Service instituted by SAS is a freely available national real-time water quality service intended to alert all water recreationalists about pollution. It warns water users when sewers overflow to discharge untreated human sewage and storm water into the sea and when water quality is reduced by diffuse pollution at beaches across England and Wales by providing a free smart phone app, SMS messages and an online map. It is already used by 14,129 subscribers.

The existing water quality testing process will not always pick up on many pollution incidents because sampling only takes place once a week during part of the year and is frequently undertaken at significant distances from the pollution source. (Godrevy is one example of this problem as it is a beach that consistently achieves a higher water quality rating, yet was subject to 6 pollution events during the 2015 bathing season).

Surfers Against Sewage campaigners will be delivering a report on the Safer Seas Service to the Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Dan Rogerson MP at the Cleaner Seas Forum in Westminster. The primary actions SAS are calling for at the Cleaner Seas Forum are:

Increased & mandatory sewer overflow data coverage — geographically and seasonally, calling for the provision of real-time water quality data to become a mandatory requirement at all recreational waters and bathing waters affected by sewer overflows and pollution risks.

Extension of the bathing season — An extended bathing season, or even better, all the year round monitoring so as to better protect bathers and sea users such as surfers, windsurfers, sailors and kayakers that use the sea throughout the year.

The report is available from www.sas.org.uk/news/campaigns/sas-warn-of-1496-pollution-events-this-bathing-season with full and further information available from www.sas.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Safer-Seas-Service-Cleaner-Seas-Forum-Report-2014.pdf , an interactive map is given by www.sas.org.uk/map and a detailed list of beaches is provided at www.sas.org.uk/news/campaigns/the-safer-seas-service-continues-reporting-on-148-beaches-out-of-season


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