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Untreated Sewage - ATTN GUERNSEY SPEAROS

Namron

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Aug 31, 2004
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Hi guys,

Saw this article on the news last night and thought I would let you all know:

BBC News - Guernsey

Untreated sewage being pumper into the Little Russel - not very nice! I for one will be giving the East coast a wide berth for a while.

This seems pretty backward in this day and age - can other DB members shed light on how common this practice is?

Cheers,
Adrian

PS - I'll bet there's some good mullet fishing over the next few weeks! :yack
 

DeepThought

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Sep 8, 2002
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Originally posted by Namron
This seems pretty backward in this day and age - can other DB members shed light on how common this practice is?
It happens all over Israel. Almost all of our sea going rivers are poluted by industry sewage. They just have too much lobby in this corrupted coutnry I guess. :(
 

portinfer

Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
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It is non-masticated too....

Basically when you flush, imagine it in your favourite spot.

I heard this on the radio this morning and was pretty livid. Once again I doubt if anything will get done. How about Spearfishers-Against-Sewage ?
Seems like "they" have decided that this is the only option. How about investing some of all the water money and taxes that we pay in proper controls ?

I think I am right in saying that Jersey has a UV filter that kills all the viruses and bacteria before it goes into the sea. Guernsey apparently doesnt do this, the upshot being that you could potentially catch some pretty serious diseases.

Heard one of the deputies on the radio squirming this morning - really shocking what he was saying : basically someone has given them the go ahead to release about half a ton of raw, un-masticated sewage PER SECOND into the sea for the next five weeks while repair work is done....

The deputy was saying that as they have publically informed people, then if people went swimming it would be at their own risk ????!!!!!

Surely there are controls on this.

We live in a relatively technical time where things can be quantified and measured accurately. What I would like to see is if they took samples everyday in the morning and evening from EVERY bay on the east coast and published the findings. This way we could see what we were swimming in.

I wouldnt be surprised that if in 5 weeks time they said it was all clear..... Hmmm, half a ton a second of sewage for 5 weeks (and when did they start ? are they admitting the whole truth ? ) - personally I might hit the east coast again sometime after Christmas.

This is terrible as there are some superb spots for snorkelling / swimming / spearfishing / freediving etc

What is the impact on not only us (we have a choice to go into the sea or not) but also the marine life ?

They are warning us not to eat the scallops but what about the fish ? I have heard that bass are territorial fish.... I like eating bass, but wont be eating any from the east coast in the near future - when would be a safe time to eat bass from that area again ?

It makes me furious.

Ed
 
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Namron

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So the plot thickens, two worrying points have come to my notice over the day:

A) The public services department weren't going to let anybody know and only told the environment department 3 days before they started doing it.

B) As I thought might be the case, Guernsey doesn't treat it sewage before it pumps it out to sea normally anyway! It just pumps it further out to sea and into deeper water.

Please inform me if I have got the last point wrong but obviously it is difficult to confirm this - they don't tend to publish on their websites!

Adrian
 

portinfer

Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
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Just read the BBC website and the health guy is quoted as saying this :
"Unfortunately, it is not possible to test for viruses, which can also pose a health hazard. "

Erm I am pretty sure you can find out if water has any viruses in it. And they should be.

They are saying that they are releasing sewage into the area around Fermain / Havelet and so on. It is not an "area" it is the sea. This isn't like spreading muck on a field, when you pollute the sea it tends to spread quite far.

The current in the Little Russel is pretty fast - something like 8 knots and with a tidal range of up to 9metres. That represents a vast amount of area that will potentially be polluted.

Yes - Adrian - point A : pretty scary, someone has decided somewhere .... who made that decision. Someone in Water or Public Works or the Environment areas (I know it is all conglomerated but I doubt they are fully automonous ). Some duff old b**gger no doubt who doesnt swim saying "Oh, just pump and dump it all".

Point B : Yes, Guernsey should invest some cash in proper treatment.
It seems crazy. The one thing that pulls tourists here is the water. Also for locals I know of very few people who dont have a connection with the sea (boating / swimming / spearing / diving etc).

Perhaps all the very visible projects soaked up the money (Marina [not sure but plenty o' millions]/ airport [20 million]) so that the out of sight out of mind projects get nothing and become neglected.

The apathy in the island is pretty strong and although this is an emotive subject I really doubt if people will get behind this to force some beneficial changes to the way things are handled.

Ed
 
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Namron

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I for one will be writing to my deputy (elected MP/Senator type person to all you non Guerns!) to ask that this matter is addressed / put to the public to offer their opinion on. I for one would have forgone the new airport or marina or court building or fifth school etc. in order to get the sewage treated properly.

As you say Jersey have some sort of UV treatment that eliminates the bacteria and I guess viruses - why can't we?

Hoping to cast the net a bit wider..... anybody else got any stories out there about jobbies in the water??

Cheers
Ad

PS Ed - I always thought that 'masticate' meant to chew!! :yack
 

Boue

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Sep 22, 2004
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The only difference as far as I can see is that they are now discharging vast quantities of untreated sewage at the edge of the Little Russel, rather than discharging vast quantities of untreated sewage only half a mile out.
We need to find someone who has the facts & figures about how Guernsey's sewage is treated (or isn't).
Anyone who has participated in water sports in the Little Russel will know that the large stinking slick currently off the mouth of St Peter Port is always present, just usually a little further off shore.

The fact that there are considerable tidal currents in the Little Russel leads people to assume that the these vast quantities of sewage will be washed away from the island (not that sending our waste to someone else’s doorstep should be acceptable), however having looked at a number of computer models of the tidal flow around the Channel Islands it appears that the sea circulates around Guernsey in an anti clockwise direction, taking approximately 6 days to return to its starting point !
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this as it flows in one direction for half the tide, before turning around and flowing back towards us again for the other half.

The models I have seen are on a French website about the sinking of the Ievoli Sun off Alderney. I found the 4th model the most useful.
The URL is
http://www.ifremer.fr/envlit/surveillance/ievolisimulations.htm

Do the States have any plans to start treating the sewage ?
If not, what should do we do ?
 
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Namron

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Hey Boue + Ed

I think you are right on the sewage treatment (or lack of) in Guernsey. As you say we should be in full command of the facts first, I will email the relevant States departments for a statement on the treatment process as a first point of call. They have to be able to provide this to a member of the Guernsey electorate.

What happens after that? I think that lobbying our deputies would be a good start, letters to the Guernsey Press, BBC etc. next. You?

OTHER DB MEMBERS - Any past sucesses with this sort of thing in your areas? Any support / tips would be appreciated.

Makes me mad - for f*** sake this is 2004 in Western Europe not medieval times!!

Cheers
Ad

PS Boue - Who are you? Tim maybe?
 

Boue

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Sep 22, 2004
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Good guess !
Let us know what response you get from the States.

Does anyone out there know if there is anything we can be looking for to assess if raw sewage is effecting areas we dive in (other than floaters!), is there for example, indicator species that are particularly venerable?
 
blimey too many guernsey men in one place.

that sounds grim. hope it doesn't work its way down here.

Here in Jersey there is indeed UV treatment of sewage which kills bacteria (don't know about viruses). They hold it out as state of the art stuff and claim to have an extremely clean end product.

used to ocassionally get raw sewage into st aubins after big storms when too much rainwater to process through drains - but they have built a huge underground holding tank to stop that happening - although they decided to build it in solid granite and wondered why the project horribly over ran.

but they did always publicise when it did get dumped.
 

portinfer

Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
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I still think that there should be a publicly accessible area for viewing water quality on a daily basis.

Immediately I thought of a web site with all the daily up-to-date information on it. I mean they give weather forcasts so why not include a local daily water quality chart.

And not just.. "it's fine today" but a more in depth analysis.

I guess there are more fishermen and yachters and so on who rely on weather info than the smaller group of swimmers / snorkellers who would like water info.

Still - I think it is reasonable to ask for this info especially considering the importance of the sea to Guernsey and the Channel Islands in general.

Jersey :
Hmmm, governments deciding to build in granite (a porous stone no less !) and costs over-running ! Sounds familiar....

Ed
 

Boue

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Sep 22, 2004
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Sounds like a good idea.

There would have to a number of different sampling locations,
and some thought would have to be given to tidal conditions (ie Bordeaux whilst the tide is flowing south would be very different to whilst the tide is flowing north.)
Perhaps it could be worked out where the best & worst locations are at a particular time, and sample from those places to show the range of water quality for each day.

I think some members of the Public Services committee should be invited to a morning swim at the bathing pools followed by a lunch of fresh scallops !
 

sas

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Sep 26, 2004
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Surfers Against Sewage will help campaign for full sewage treatment

We been working behind the scenes last week on this but am trying to get a campaign together to bring the island full sewage treatment. We're up for organising a peaceful demo on the island and a lobbying campaign to put the issue at the top of the political agenda. Please contact us on 01872 553001 if you'd like to be involved, are a sas member or want to keep up to date with what could be proposed

SAS

24th September 2004

NEWS RELEASE

BEACH SIGNAGE ADOPTED BUT SURFERS WILL NOW CAMPAIGN TO BRING FULL SEWAGE TREATMENT TO THE ISLAND OF GUERNSEY

Campaigners from the clean and safe water non governmental organisation Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) have welcomed the posting of beach warning signs in Havelet Bay to inform the public of possible sewage pollution over the next 5 weeks whilst repairs are undertaken on a sewage main pipe along Glategny Esplanade.

SAS appealed to the State on Wednesday to post signage on those beaches that would potentially be affected having learnt that there were no precautionary plans to fix signage by the State but only to employ it if water quality samples show polluted water. Current water quality sampling techniques are time consuming and so signage is one way that bathers or recreational water users can get information quickly in order to make informed decisions for themselves about using water knowing the potential risks. SAS welcome the State’s decision to employ signage but would urge the placement of further precautionary signage at Fermain Bay.

Raw or untreated sewage carries a host of bacteria and viruses that pose a risk to public health. Ear, nose and throat infections are common complaints by water users having used water polluted by sewage for bathing or recreation. More worryingly Hepatitis A, Ecoli 0157 and Meningitis are also present in sewage polluted water and have caused water users much suffering over the last 15 years.

The problem has in fact highlighted a much bigger issue of improving the island’s sewerage infrastructure, which fails to treat sewage effluent to a high standard before discharge to sea. Sewage currently receives only preliminary treatment (removes grit and rags but does nothing to remove the viruses and bacteria found in human excrement) before being discharged to sea at Belle Greve. In today’s society it is unacceptable to pump and dump raw sewage without treatment. The popularity of swimming and watersports on the island of Guernsey make the upgrading of the island’s sewerage infrastructure to tertiary sewage treatment such as UV disinfection or microfiltration an absolute necessity. Investment in state of the art technology to improve the treatment of sewage and wastewater would open up more areas of Guernsey coastline for safe recreational water sport and also bring the island more opportunities from tourism. Jersey was the first place in the UK to embrace full sewage treatment with UV disinfection in the 90’s and has seen many benefits since from the investment.

SAS Campaign’s Director Richard Hardy says: “Recreational water users are calling on the State to urgently endorse a full sewage treatment programme for the island to protect both the health of its water users and the preservation of the marine environment from plumes of raw sewage”

For more information please contact Richard Hardy on Tel: 01872 4583001.
 

portinfer

Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
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Nice one SAS...

Boue - do you think that Bordeaux would be ok on a falling tide (if water flowing towards town) ? I have been toying with the idea but I guess that the only way is by specific testing like you are advocating.

Oh and I think that such a meal as you suggest would go down well with the politicians (and possibly just keep going :) )

Ed
 

Boue

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Sep 22, 2004
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I think we should all get involved with SAS.

Portinfer - I'm no expert on sewage but I would guess that Bordeaux would be worse when the tide is flowing north.
The tide does however only go north for 6 hours, before turning around and flowing back again!

For the time being, to be on the safe side, I'm avoiding all the east coast plus the north and south east.
 
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Namron

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My understanding is that there is another long fall pipe one off Pleinmont somewhere also, to dump all the waste from Torteval and the like? So does that rule out the south and west coasts aswell? Are we just a rock in a sea of our own diluted waste?

I have emailed the Public Services department for a statement on what happens to the sewage now and what the medium to long term plans are.

SAS - May be you have this information already you could post or email to us all? And you get my backing in your campaign.

Cheers,
Adrian
 

portinfer

Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
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Adrian - there are about 534 registered voters in Torteval and as that is God's own land I am pretty sure that their effluent smells of roses....

Went in around Roquaine and it was like a different planet - none of the familiar bass that you get on the east coast.... Quite a disappointing session but I will continue to try it, I guess for the next few months.

Plenty of "land drainage" pipes (at most west coast bays - Vazon, Rocquaine, Portinfer etc) - what is coming out of them ?

Ed
 

Boue

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Sep 22, 2004
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Raw Sewage - don't dump it !

Namron - I believe the other sewage outfall is by Crux Mahy (not sure if that’s how it is spelt), just east of Pleinmont. The track leading to the pumping point is just opposite the old Torteval shopper. If you know where the Crux Mahy cave is, the pipe runs out from next to it.

I'd be very interested in seeing any replies you get from the States.

A few of my friends are contacting SAS, and in the process of putting together a web site dedicated to our sewage problem.
The idea being that we can use it to collate information / swap ideas / co-ordinate action etc..
The site should be online within the week - I'll post the URL here as soon as its up and running.

Ed - I went in at La Moye Point on Sun and only saw a few small bass, out again tomorrow, so hopefully more luck then.
Have you heard about the UK ban on pair trawling for bass - wonder if it will help improve our stocks, although the french haven't banned it -http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/3697018.stm

All the best - Tim
 
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sas

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sas public meeting and action being planned

Just to let you guys know we're planning a public meeting next week in Guernsey followed by an action. I'm just trying to get a venue sorted now. Be good if you can get along to it as you have good local knowledge!

The crux of it is that we'll be calling on the State's to deliver a full sewage treatment programme for the island - we'll use examples of the success story of full sewage treament across the island and
then we'll follow up with an action the mornign after. It'll have to be a midweek evening for the public meeting and then first thing the following morning for an action at the State's government offices. Full details to follow shortly. If you were to come we might get some answers to some of the questions you raised.

Oh yeah if anyone knows Chris Harvey he contacted us for some information but we've got a wrong number for him - think he was after setting up a website about the situation.

Anyway will be in touch shortly

All the best

Richard Hardy
SAS
 
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