Scottish SAS representatives are joined by local MSP to warn of potential increased health risks as sewage treatment is reduced at the east coast’s top surf spot.
Yesterday Surfers Against Sewage’s (SAS) Scottish representative Alasdair Steele was joined on Pease Bay beach by local surfers and MSP John Lamont, to warn waveriders of the potential increased health risk at Pease Bay as Scottish Water reduce the levels of sewage treatment from September 15th.
4 weeks ago SAS unveiled a straw poll to the local waveriding community in Pease Bay. In just 4 weeks over 200 people have committed to using the sea at Pease outside the bathing season and joined the SAS call for full year round sewage treatment.
Scottish Water’s treatment works at Cove, near Pease Bay, is permitted to reduce levels of sewage treatment from full ‘tertiary’ treatment to ‘secondary’ treatment. Resulting in a huge increase in potentially harmfully pathogens entering the sea, a real health concern for local waveriders. Especially as Pease receives its best surf during this period. With new wetsuit technology, even on the coldest winter day surfers can enjoy the surf for hours on end.
The waveriders who have committed to using Pease Bay outside the bathing season estimate they will use the sea a combined total of total of 4,206 times from the 15th of September 2009 until the 15th of May 2010. Because of the nature of these water sports, surfers and waveriders are 3 times more likely to contract Hepatitis A, from sewage polluted waters than the average bather due to increased immersion and ingestion.
In 2008 SAS secured a victory on a similar campaign in England, when Northumbrian Water applied to reduce levels of sewage treatment outside the bathing season. Largely due to SAS’s hard fought campaign, the Environment Agency (EA) stipulated that sewage treatment could only be reduced outside the bathing season when the water company can prove an absence of water users and an absence of impacts on water quality. SAS believe this is a strong precedent and that Scottish water users deserve the same levels of protection.
SAS are calling on Scottish Ministers to recommend to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) that Scottish Waters keep their sewage treatment works at Cove at a tertiary level, whilst a robust survey of recreational water usage at Pease outside the bathing season is undertaken.
SAS’s Campaign Manger Andy Cummins says: “SAS are urging Scottish Ministers to ensure SEPA deliver the same levels of protection English and Welsh waveriders enjoy and ensure that Scottish Water’s discharge doesn’t impact on popular beaches.”
SAS’s Edinburgh Rep Alasdair Steele says: “Pease Bay has a huge community of surfers and receives great surf, especially outside the bathing season. This is when we need full sewage treatment to protect waveriders from potentially harmful bacteria and viruses.”