Bare-faced cheek of SAS!
August 8th saw Surfers Against Sewage stage a ‘sitting protest’ on Brighton’s
main beach. The stunt, involving 20 occupied loo’s was accompanied by a
call on Southern Water to clean up their act and deal with the raw sewage
outfall that currently blights the city.
Vicky Garner, Campaign Manager for SAS, commented; "Whilst some
may be questioning our sanity we are simply creating an image that reflects
reality in Brighton! Southern Water collects the contents of the city’s
toilet bowls, mixes it all together and pumps the stuff out to sea. We thought
we’d cut out the middle man, save Southern Water time and money and take
our loo’s to the waters edge!"
With a population of 275, 000 and a thriving beach and watersports scene,
it is absurd that all the sewage from the city of Brighton is currently
discharged into the sea without treatment. As of December 31st 2000, the
discharge became illegal in the eyes of the European Commission.
SAS call for the full treatment of sewage at all times and in all places
and Brighton is no exception to the rule. Every other major seaside resort
in the UK has a sewage treatment scheme either up and running or planned,
yet a scheme for Brighton has still not been agreed. Southern Waters’ original
plans for the scheme were dismissed following a Public Inquiry, now the
company are saying it will be 10 years before anything is in place. Meanwhile
the health of water users and the local tourist industry will suffer.
Vicky Garner of SAS said today; ""It is absurd that Southern
Water are now saying that the scheme will take 10 years to deliver, by admitting
this they are admitting that their first attempts at delivering a scheme
were completely unrealistic. Southern Water have been aware of their obligations
to deal with the Brighton discharge since 1991. They are also aware of the
inevitable objections that result when a new sewage treatment works is proposed;
the company appear to have made no time allowance for the inevitable and
now they have missed the legal deadline. This is their problem and not ours,
Southern should stop whinging and find a solution! Despite two European
Directives nudging them in the right direction, a Public Inquiry and huge
sums of customers money, Southern Water appear to be either unable or unwilling
to find a solution that suits everyone involved. Are the company bankrupt
The protest attracted a great deal of attention from passers-by, as one
lot of protesters left the loo’s, so another lot sat down, the supply of
people backing SAS’s calls was endless! Southern Water must take this on
board, Brighton’s residents want and deserve the best for Brighton and the
best is full treatment, nothing less will suffice!
For further details contact Vicky Garner at SAS HQ on (01872) 553001Eco Notes:
· The surfers were joined on the beach by local MP Des Turner
and local councillor Richard Child.
· Under the 1991 Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive all sewage
treatment schemes serving populations of 15,000 or over, are subject to
secondary treatment by Dec 31st 2000.
· A 1998 House of Commons Environment Select Committee Report
into Sewage Treatment and Disposal in the UK recommended that "all
sewage should be fully treated at all times and in all places".
· Full treatment is also known as tertiary treatment and includes
technologies such as Ultra-Violet disinfection and microfiltration. These
technologies have been tried and tested and are now in place all around
the UK, with excellent results.
· SAS gave evidence at the 2000 Public Inquiry into the proposed
Brighton scheme. Southern Water were proposing a secondary treatment works
using an existing long sea outfall as the discharge point, SAS were calling
on Southern Water to use the best available technology and incorporate UV
disinfection into the scheme. Not only would UV result in a final effluent
that is 99% free of faecal bacteria, the effluent would be clean in the
pipe, removing the need to utilise the already existing outfall and opening
up the treatment plant location options!