Don’t swim on these Cornish beaches where sewage has been pumped into the water

Beachgoers have been warned not to enter the water in three areas of Cornwall for fear of pollution.

A map from Surfers Against Sewage shows all of the places where raw sewage has been dumped into Cornwall’s rivers and beaches.

Human waste is sometimes pumped out of the sewage system and into rivers or the sea through safety valves called “combined sewer overflows”.

Wastewater leaves these valves when there is heavy rainfall – to prevent waste from backing up into homes.

Read: Map shows all rivers and beaches where sewage is dumped

These so-called “storm surges” are only supposed to take place under “exceptional circumstances”.

But raw sewage poured into rivers more than 400,000 times in England last year, the Environmental agency noted.

Despite this, Conservative MPs voted against an amendment to a bill that would have prevented companies from dumping untreated sewage into the country’s rivers and seas.

Recently, aerial photographs of a beloved Cornwall beach have shown the extent of sewage being dumped at popular beauty spots.

The photos, taken by drone at Par Beach near St Austell, show a huge steak of discolored water dulling the turquoise sea.

Dark brown water can be seen coming from the river running through town.

Brown water can be seen blurring the color of the water at Par Beach

Par Beach, a long stretch of sand, has two sewer outlets according to the Cornwall-based Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) campaign group. One pumps directly into the sea at Par Spit and the other into the Par river 230 m upstream. The southwest water outlets – which combine sewage from homes with rainwater – are allowed to let the sewage flow into the sea when passed due to heavy rains.

The Par River drain pipe here caused the problem.

Here are the beaches to avoid in Cornwall, according to Surfers Against Sewage:

Long rock

The website reads: “Pollution alert: Stormwater has been discharged from a sewer overflow at this location in the past 48 hours.

“The second of four beaches surrounded by Mounts Bay, Long Rock Beach is a mile-long stretch of sand supported by sea defenses.

“In the watershed of the helipad beach, there is a sewer overflow that drains into Ponsdale creek, 130 m upstream from the beach, three that drain into Trevaylor creek and four other sewer overflows that flow into the sea east and west of the beach.


Pentewan Beach
Pentewan Beach

“Pollution alert: Stormwater has been released from a sewer overflow at this location for the past 48 hours.

“Pentewan, located on the south coast of Cornwall, is a private, sandy seaside resort about 1.1 km wide. There is an emergency sewer overflow from the Pentewan Pumping Station which drains into the St Austell river 250 m from the beach.

“In the Pentewan Bathing Waters Watershed, there are four emergency sewer overflows that drain into the St Austell River at least a mile and a half upstream from the bathing waters.”

Large Bay

Widemouth Bay, Bude
Widemouth Bay, Bude

The alert reads: “Pollution Alert: Stormwater has been discharged from a sewer overflow at this location in the past 48 hours.

“Large, sandy beach with rocky reef outcrops perfect for rock pooling, Widemouth Bay is a popular beach backed by low cliffs and interesting rock formations. A sewer overflow drains 270m away. upstream which empties into the sea through Widemouth Bay.The quality of bathing water may also be affected by other discharges from the surrounding urban area.

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About Marco C. Nichols

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