My favourite beach at Gwithian / Godrevy is still under threat from the release of raw untreated human sewage.
The picture above shows the brown slick of overflowing human sewage coming out of the Red River from South West Waters combined Sewage Overflow. This photo was on taken on Saturday 28th June 2014, the release of sewage coincided with the incoming tide which pushed the slick back into the beach and along the coast toward Hayle. It was a beautiful sunny day with plenty of people enjoying the ocean and the beach. There were surf schools teaching children as well as surfing competition taking place which then had to be cancelled.
This is one of the best and most popular beaches in Cornwall, as well as being the regular venue for the final leg of the annual british wavesailing association tour. Recently Godrevy was also the final destination for the Red Bull Storm chase which delivered storm force winds and triple mast high waves.
For me personally i love to windsurf, windsup, surf or just spend family time here. It's a great place to hang out, but the thought of untreated human sewage and all the infections that can be caught in the water here is a real concern. You'll be told this beach reaches safety standards, but the testing site is several hundred meters away from where the river runs out. There is something fundamentally wrong if we let governments, agencies and commercial companies dump sewage into the environment without any recourse or plan of action to deal with this issue. There are apparently still 20-30000 CSO's in the UK alone which shows the scale of the problem.
Now I’ve known for a long time that there is a CSO which releases occasionally into the sea via the Red River, however we’ve had 5 events at Godrevy in a recent seven week period: 22nd May 2014, 26th May 2014, 26th June 2014, 28th June 2014, 7th July 2014. We seem to be having a hot dry summer and I don’t believe that these releases are related to extreme weather events. It looks like we’ve had a pretty warm dry start to summer, with rainfall figures being around average for the time of year. This has to raise concerns about the controls in place and the processes that allow these discharges.
Karin Howey a great supporter of Surfers Against Sewage organised a demonstration at the Red River on Saturday 26th July 2014, we got a fabulous turnout and coverage from both BBC & ITV as well as local newspapers and social media.
Great to see Timo Mullen there with his family supporting the protest as well.
BBC Coverage can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-28503645
ITV Coverage can be found here: http://www.itv.com/news/westcountry/story/2014-07-25/protest-against-sewage-left-on-cornish-beach/
The Cornishman: http://www.cornishman.co.uk/PICTURES-Surfers-stage-protest-beach-Godrevy/story-21942461-detail/story.html
More details from Surfers Against Sewage on the campaign: http://www.sas.org.uk/news/campaigns/godrevy-gwithian-community-demonstration-against-sewage-pollution/
If you didn't make to the event there are several actions you can take now!
1) download SAS's water quality app so you know when sewage is discharging at your favourite beach at www.sas.org.uk
2) sign the online petition to stop Sewage discharges at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/south-west-water-stop-discharging-untreated-sewage-in-our-bathing-waters
3) report sewage discharges to the Environment Agency every time you witness a pollution event 0800 80 70 60
SAS are meeting with senior Environment Agency staff in the coming days on this issue and will make sewer overflow discharges a key aspect of the Protect Our Waves All Party Parliamentary Group.
Hot Sails Maui, Loco Sup, K4 Fins