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First Ever Real Time Sewage Alerts Issued For Beach Users

June 15, 2011

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) flagship Sewage Alerts Service text message warnings kicked into action last weekend during heavy downpours at some of the most popular beaches in Wales and Southern England. For the first time ever beach users were warned in real time during raw sewage discharges at popular beaches.

SAS provided this vital water quality information FREE to beach users, surfers and watersports enthusiasts who had registered for SAS’s  Sewage Alert Service text alerts. The information was also updated live on SAS’s online map at sas.org.uk for all to access.  The system also notifies subscribers when discharges stop and advises against using the sea for the following 12 hours.

Going to press, no sewage is discharging at any of the beaches participating in SAS’s Sewage Alert Service, so we can say with certainty that these beaches are sewage free today!   No news is definitely good news for the beaches involved in the Sewage Alert Service.

These essential Sewage Alert Service messages were issued at:

• Manorbier (Wales)
• Broadhavern (Wales)
• Shanklin (IoW)
• Poole
• Poole Branksome Chine
• Bournemouth Christchurch
• Bournemouth Hengistbury
• Bournemouth Pier
• Boscombe Pier (home to the artificial surfing reef)
• Western Super Mare

Even during rain many of these beaches are heavily used by surfers, windsurfers and other watersports enthusiasts, so this vital water quality information can help them best choose when to hit the water.

Raw sewage is discharged via Combine Sewer Overflows (CSOs) when the sewerage system is overloaded by rain, population pressures or ineffective sewerage infrastructure.  This problem can be exacerbated after long dry spells as the ground is hard and not suited to absorbing rain.  That’s exactly what happened last weekend with the first downpour in weeks.

SAS provided alerts at 10 beaches, thousands of CSOs around the UK would have been discharging raw sewage into our rivers and seas.  We would strongly recommend using the beaches participating in our Sewage Alert Service, as only these beaches can provide you with real time information about sewage discharges.  You can get a full list of the beaches taking part here.

You can sign up for the free real time Sewage Alert Service here or visit the SAS map to check on your nearest beach taking part in this pioneering public health project. Alternatively text “SAS (Beach Name)” to 64446.  Texts to 64446 are charged at your normal network rate and you can cancel by simply texting “SAS Stop” to 64446.

SAS Campaign Director says:  “Raw sewage does discharge onto our beaches and it’s a significant step forward for water companies to pass this information on.  Sign up for real time sewage alert texts from SAS and you can choose how and when is best to use the sea.”


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