Sewage scuppers New Year swim plans in Devon

New Year dawns with an immediate recurrence of one of last year’s scandals.

Simple message, nowhere can be guaranteed to be storm sewage free after heavy rain. – Owl

Ami Wyllie www.devonlive.com 

Thousands of people are preparing to take part in official and unofficial New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day swims, a coastal tradition spanning years.

Keen swimmers are dusting off their swim wear or preparing their fancy dress costumes, but their plans could be scuppered yet.

However, sewage has been discharged into the water on three Devon beaches, affecting popular swimming spots on both the North and East Devon coast.

Environmental charity, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), have issued ‘do not swim’ warnings at these beaches due to the pollution risk that could cause illness or accidental swallowing of sewage water.

Owing to the off season, several beaches don’t have data available so while they carry no explicit warning, water safety cannot be guaranteed.

Here are the three beaches you should avoid swimming at, according to data from Surfers Against Sewage:

Westward Ho!

Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours.

A New Year’s Day ‘dip’ is planned for 12pm on Westward Ho! beach.

SAS have pinpointed the location of the sewage discharge, saying: “A sewer overflow discharges to the sea at Nose Rock at the southern end of the beach while the Tawe/Torridge estuary also receives overflows from the surrounding urban area which may affect water quality especially after heavy rainfall.”

Anyone still wanting to join the the dip should keep clear of the discharge location.

Combe Martin

Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours.

No official swim has been planned for Combe Martin on New Years Eve or New Years Day, but those who still want to go down for a dip should be aware of the pollution risk.

According to SAS, the sewage has been released upstream.

SAS says: “A sewer overflow discharges into the Umber River some 30m upstream of the beach with two more discharging further upstream.

“Other discharges from the surrounding urban area may also affect water quality particularly after heavy rainfall.”

Exmouth

Storm sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow in this location within the past 48 hours.

While most famous for its Christmas Day swim, some people may still be planning to head to the waterfront on New Years Eve and New Years Day.

If you are planning to go down, SAS advise you avoid the Orcombe Point end of the beach as this is where sewage is released.

SAS advise: “There is a sewer overflow discharging through an outfall to the south east which may affect bathing water quality especially after heavy rainfall.”

Here are the beaches with no water quality data available meaning sewage contamination cannot be ruled out:

  • Lynmouth
  • Ilfracombe (Hele and Wildersmouth)
  • Saunton Sands
  • Seaton
  • Beer
  • Sidmouth
  • Ladram Bay
  • Watcombe
  • Hollicombe
  • Hope Cove
  • Thurlestone
  • Bantham
  • Bigbury – on – Sea
  • Challaborough
  • Wembury
  • Bovisand

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