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

of ideas?"

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) 553001

Eco 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!