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SAS/St Agnes residents campaign for cleaner beaches

SAS/St Agnes residents campaign for cleaner beaches

Following repeated pollution incidents and a suspected outbreak of gastro-intestinal illness amongst young surfers in the village (August 8th), SAS and St Agnes residents met last Friday to develop a plan of attack designed ultimately to rid the village stream and the beach of raw sewage.

Back in 1997 St Agnes received what was meant to be a state of the art UV (Ultra Violet) treatment works. Although the UV is operating correctly, problems with the sewerage infrastructure, particularly the local pumping station, have resulted in a catalogue of sewage related incidents in the village. Sewage has on occasions been left running down the road and raw sewage frequently enters a stream via a storm overflow, the stream then runs down onto to the beach and into the sea.

It appears that the system designed for St Agnes cannot cope with the load placed on it, that the equipment used by SWW is not up to scratch and that operating and maintaining the works is proving to be a huge challenge for the company. Since water bill payers in the South West have already funded the clean up of St Agnes’ sewage, SAS will be asking the company how they plan to remedy the situation – a situation that the company are clearly responsible for.

Richard Hardy, SAS: "St Agnes has a state of the art sewage treatment works, it uses some of the best technology available, yet somehow South West Water have managed to create a system that has been blighted by operational problems and features a storm overflow that discharges even in dry weather. It’s a complete joke – and a bad one at that."

The water industry works on 5 yearly investment cycles via a process called the Periodic Review. This Periodic Review process, which will determine where water company investment is made in the period 2005 – 2010 has just begun. The UK Government play a key role in determining the content of the environmental programme that will be delivered during this period. It is therefore vital that the Minister is made aware of the need for improvements in St Agnes – SAS have started a local petition and will be lobbying all stakeholders involved in the Periodic Review process to ensure that St Agnes and other problematic schemes in the region receive the attention they require.

Richard Hardy, Campaign Assistant for SAS says: "The Environment Minister can have a impact on what improvements South West Water make during the next Periodic Review. His support will be crucial in ensuring South West Water make the improvements necessary to guarantee clean and safe bathing water becomes the norm and not the exception for the village".

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