Campaigners from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are calling for the Secretary of State for the Environment to support their calls for a full sewage treatment infrastructure for Brighton’s 250,000 people during the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.

Today SAS surfers held aloft a ‘FULL SEWAGE TREATMENT FOR BRIGHTON’ banner in the sea alongside a 14ft inflatable poo in front of the Brighton Centre, venue for the Conference.

SAS have been campaigning for cleaner and safer water in Brighton for 15 years. It is the only major seaside resort in the UK to breach the EU’s Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive and continues to discharge the equivalent of 50 Olympic swimming pools of raw sewage each day to the sea off Brighton. Surfers and other recreational water users continue to run health risks in using local beaches for watersport, particularly as untreated sewage contains bacteria and viruses responsible for illnesses such as gastroenteritis, ear, nose and throat infections, Hepatitis A and Ecoli 0157.

SAS are running a campaign that calls for the Secretary of State for the Environment to become directly involved in Southern Water’s proposal to build a new sewage and wastewater treatment works. The current application is an improvement but is very much a middle of the road option (secondary level treatment) that fails to treat sewage fully before discharging it to sea. SAS believe the application should include UV light disinfection (tertiary) from the start of operation. This level of treatment is a cheap extra and ensures effluent is clean and safe reducing the risk of surfers falling ill while using the water.

It also offers the opportunity of reusing the effluent and would be a more sustainable option for Brighton especially considering the huge problem Southern water has with water shortages.

Richard Hardy, SAS Campaigns Director says: “The Secretary of State for the Environment must ensure UV disinfection is added to Southern Water’s proposal. Without this the Government will be allowing a water company to waste millions of litres of potentially reusable water to sea everyday and at the same time continue to allow recreational water users to run a health gauntlet of using Brighton’s beaches for watersport”.


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