Posts Tagged ‘sewage’

MICROPLASTICS AND MARINE LITTER – TALK

Nigel Mortimer of the AONB has sent this message and link to a recent talk by Prof Richard Thompson.:-

During Science Week, earlier this year, I invited you to a couple of talks on plastics ‘The Good, the Bad & the Ugly’ kindly hosted by the Kingsbridge Community College.

Professor Richard Thompson from Plymouth University was one of the two excellent speakers, talking on “Marine Litter: are there solutions to this global environmental problem ?”

Professor Thompson gave a very similar talk to members of the Marine Biological Association last Friday and due to Global demand, the talk was recorded. If you’d like to watch it yourself, here is the link;

www.mba.ac.uk/2016/11/16/microplastics-talk-by-richard-thompson

Richard spoke to the ACA some years ago but his story about microplastics has moved on somewhat since then.  I attended the talk at Kingsbridge College referred to by Nigel and found it fascinating.   An outline is provided below.:-
Marine Litter is a global environmental problem with consequences for human health, the economy and wildlife.  This litter is pervasive throughout our oceans form the poles to the equator and from sea surface and shoreline to the deep sea. It is hazardous to seafarers resulting in unnecessary coastguard and rescue callouts and has substantial economic consequences for the local authorities responsible for clean-up. Perhaps most widely documented are encounters with wildlife which can result in direct harm and death. Well over 600 species of marine organisms are reported to encounter marine litter and the majority of these encounters are with plastic items.

However, marine litter is an environmental problem that can be solved. The majority of the items that become marine litter are single use disposable items including packaging and sewage related debris. Such items can bring considerable societal benefit, for example in terms of food security and light weighting to reduce fuel usage, however these benefits can all be realised without the need for any  emissions of litter to the ocean.  Hence the long term solutions lie in recognising that if designed, used and disposed of appropriately, then end-of-life items that currently accumulate in waste management facilities and as litter in the natural environment can be used as a resource for production of new products. Working toward a circular economy of this kind will help reduce our reliance on non-renewable resources and simultaneously reduce the quantity of waste requiring disposal.

SURFERS AGAINST SEWAGE CAMPAIGN

The ACA supports the SAS campaign to clean our seas and estuaries of sewage-related materials.  The following message was received from SAS on 23rd May 2016:-

Today, we’re taking your support for the Sewage Free Seas campaign to Westminster with us to be presented to the Environment Agency at our All Party Parliamentary Group. Your support joins 13,000 fellow ocean enthusiasts, surfers, water users and environmentalists calling for Sewage Free Seas. This huge response, in just six weeks, shows just how concerned coastal communities are about sewage pollution at our beaches.
We will make the case for Sewage Free Seas on behalf of you and all our supporters, calling for the Environment Agency and water companies to stop sewage pollution ruining some of the nation’s best beaches.
The meeting will bring together Members of Parliament to hear evidence from speakers from the European Centre for the Environment & Human Health, surf industry leaders, Surfing GB, the shellfish industry, the Marine Conservation Society and Leah.  Leah is a young surfer who fell seriously ill after surfing at her favourite spot whilst a sewer overflow, hidden upstream, discharged untreated human sewage into the sea.
We rely on the support of our members to enable us to campaign for Sewage Free Seas at the highest level.  Supporting Surfers Against Sewage with a regular donation is the best way you can help us achieve our long term vision of a clean, safe and protected ocean environment.  Please join us today, for just £2 a month.
We’ll email you again after the All Party Parliamentary Group to let you know the outcomes and what that means for protecting your health and our special beaches.
Thanks again for your support
Team SAS

New Bantham owner decries permitted sewage bypasses into Devon Avon

Nicholas Johnston, the new owner of the Bantham Estate, has expressed his support for the long-maintained view of the ACA that the 10 permitted releases of raw sewage into the Avon from the Aveton Gifford sewage treatment works after heavy rainfall should be stopped.  At present, the releases are made without any warning to the public despite the increased recreational use of the river.   For the full story, see this link -

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-32717287

 

THINK BEFORE YOU DIP! There may be harmful bugs in the estuary.

Bathers and watercraft users cannot be protected from microbiological hazards in the upper Avon estuary under the Bathing Waters Directive.    The Environment Agency does not monitor recreational waters for microbes unless they are designated as Bathing Waters.   The regular bather numbers in the upper Avon estuary are too low to justify designation under the Bathing Waters Directive, we have been told.  Users of watercraft of various types are excluded from the count.

An alternative approach could be to post warning signs about possible pollution risks so that recreational river users can be made aware of the possible microbiological hazard.  To date, Aveton Gifford Parish Council has resisted such a move and South West Water has not cooperated in providing information to the public about the occurrence and timing of the 10 permitted combined sewer overflows (CSO) from the sewage works at Aveton Gifford.

South West Water is taking action to reduce domestic sewer overflows onto local roads and streams running into the upper Avon estuary by separating foul water from rain water (see link below) but the CSO will continue for the foreseeable future. So BEWARE!

http://www.southwestwater.co.uk/index.cfm?articleid=12504

Bathing Water designation and microbiological testing for Avon estuary?

This is notice of a formal request – in line with DEFRA policy and guidelines (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/bathing-waters) – to designate the Devon Avon estuary (Avon GB 510804606000  -Transitional Water) as  a site requiring microbiological testing during the period May to September under the Bathing Waters Directive.

The estuary is increasingly used for recreational purposes, including swimming and boating by enthusiasts, schools, tourists, etc., (see http://www.outdoorswimmingsociety.com/events/?id=112 & http://www.singingpaddles.co.uk/Specialist%20Paddling%20Courses%20in%20South%20Devon.htm)  yet is subject to 10 permitted sewage by-passes  per year from the Aveton Gifford sewage works and  is exposed to unmonitored effluent from many other sources -  including sewerage system failures in the village of Aveton Gifford.    Between Loddiswell and Bantham there are many known discharge points for domestic sewage systems into the River Avon, licensed but not routinely monitored by the Environment Agency (EA).   Other systems are so ancient that they pre-date the need for a license and may not even feature in the EA records.   Many of these private systems are subject to highly variable seasonal loading and consequent failure during the main (May-September) tourist season when the local population explodes in number.   In addition, this popular, recreational water receives the agricultural run-off from many farms in the lower part of the Devon Avon catchment.   The downstream oyster fishery, which is routinely monitored under the Shellfish Waters Directive, has recently been closed due to microbiological contamination.

The water in the upper Avon estuary, near the Timbers car park, is at particular risk of microbiological contamination but the nearest microbiological testing points for bathing waters are at Bantham and Bigbury, at the estuary mouth.  No ‘Beach Live’ alerting system to warn the public of microbiological hazards is operational despite requests to South West Water to implement such a system, for example, by the use of local community websites.  Furthermore, there is no easily accessible warning about the potential health risks arising from exposure to the river water in the area.