Sewage emissions report reveals Weston affected by at least 93 sewage spills in the past year
- Credit: Surfers Against Sewage
An environmental report has revealed water companies are routinely discharging untreated sewage into UK waters polluting the environment, and placing people’s health at risk.
The data used to inform the report showed that in Weston alone, there were 93 reported incidents in the last year of untreated sewage being spilt.
The report, published by ocean conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage, revealed that across England and Wales, water companies were responsible for almost 3,000 raw sewage pollution incidents from licensed Combined Sewer Overflows from October 1, 2019 to September 30 this year, impacting some of the most popular bathing waters and beaches.
Surfers Against Sewage tracks these discharges with real-time data obtained from water companies and provides pollution alerts for 370 beaches through the Safer Seas Service app.
Anna Southwell, who lives in Weston and is a frequent cold-water swimmer, said: “Every time we choose to go for a swim, we have to weigh up the risk to our health and decide if we are willing to take it.
“We shouldn’t be having to make such decisions, but because we love being in nature and the way it benefits our wellbeing, 95 per cent of the time we get in the water.
“Weston isn’t seen as a bathing beach because of its water ratings, it has so much potential but while its greatest asset is so polluted, how will it ever flourish? Even the locals fear the water.
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“So many people are missing out.”
Weston Main suffered 49 sewage discharge notifications in 2019/20, with 24 pollution risk forecasts this year.
Uphill Slipway suffered 42 sewage discharge notifications in 2019/20 and 19 pollution risk forecasts for this year, while Kewstoke’s Sandy Bay had no sewage discharge information issued and nine pollution risk forecasts in 2020.
Hugo Tagholm, chief executive of Surfers Against Sewage, added: “Water companies consistently put profit before fully protecting the environment.
“This report demonstrates that rivers and the ocean are being treated as open sewers.
“With nearly 100 untreated sewage discharges reported in Weston in just one year, it feels as though the town’s coastal waters are being routinely used as a method for disposing of sewage, instead of in the exceptional circumstances under which it is permitted.
“This feels particularly horrifying in a year where we are all battling the coronavirus pandemic, and the use of the sea and rivers has been highlighted as so critical to our physical health and wellbeing.”