Health Concerns For Scottish Surfers.

Credit: Sandy Gemmill

Over the last decade, Scotland has played annual host to some of the biggest events in the water sports calendar.  The Tiree Wave Classic, the Surf Kayaking Championships and the O’Neill Coldwater Classic produce a major boost for both Scotland’s economy and as a platform to inspire our lackadaisical youth.  It is therefore shocking to report that Pease Bay – the most common surf spot in the Lowlands has a dirty secret. During the summer months the Cove treatment works, located directly next to Pease Bay, run a successful ultra violet (UV) filtration system that allows sewage to pass in to the North Sea cleanly and safely.  Amazingly, Scottish Water have disregarded winter water users and each year, from 15th September – 15th May, the UV filtration system is switched off allowing sewage to enter into the North Sea.

Untreated sewage in our seas hold many health implications and water users are at risk of contracting viral hepatitis, cholera and typhoid to name but a few.  The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) needs to acknowledge that people are using the sea even in the coldest months and put protection in place to prevent this from happening in the future.

With new technology, wetsuits are capable of keeping water users warm even on the coldest days submerged under the coldest seas.  In a recent poll by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), it is thought that as many as 4206 individuals will take to the water in and around Pease Bay from September 2010 – May 2011.

SAS are currently running a campaign to have Scottish Water leave the UV filtration system on throughout the entire year.   SAS Campaign Manager Andy Cummins says “SAS are urging Scottish ministers to ensure SEPA deliver the same levels of protection English and Welsh wave riders enjoy and ensure that Scottish Waters discharge doesn’t impact on popular beaches”.

In order for Scottish Water and SEPA to acknowledge the demand for clean and safe water throughout the winter, follow the link and sign the ‘SAS’ petition petition@surfersagainstsewage.