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.
SAS is urging the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) to carry out a survey on water user numbers and investigate the risk to their health by Scottish Water’s actions as this bathing season finishes.
Until SEPA have conducted a comprehensive survey into user numbers and the impacts of reducing sewage treatment at Pease Bay, SAS are calling on SEPA to ensure Scottish Water provide a clean and safe environment for Scottish water users and treat the sewage discharge at Pease Bay to the highest level (UV disinfection, tertiary treatment).
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.