Surfers in Scotland: Avoid the Forth

SAS

The UK’s Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) are warning recreational water users to avoid using beaches that are close to the Seafield sewage incident where untreated sewage has been entering the Forth in Scotland.

They should avoid using it again for a further 72 hours after the fault has been completely fixed or at the point water quality samples have indicated water quality has returned to normal.

Bacteria and pathogens present in sewage polluted water can survive for long periods of time. In winter their die-off rates are slower due to lower levels of sunlight and so they survive for longer, increasing the risks for recreational water users.

Scientific research has shown that people that use the sea are far more likely to suffer from sewage related viral infections.? This would make them particularly vulnerable from an incident such as Seafield.

Electronic Beach Signage

Whilst printed warning signs were placed at access points to beaches considered to be threatened by poor water quality, SAS would like to see the electronic water quality warning signs in use at Portobello beach and 10 other beaches in Scotland during the bathing season being available throughout the year.

This signage is ‘state of the art’ and gives real time information to water users about the current water quality conditions. The sign at Portobello beach was removed at the end of the 2006 bathing season and is likely to be installed again before the start of the 2007 bathing season.

Richard Hardy, SAS Campaigns Director says: “With recreational watersport booming in Scotland and more importantly being undertaken all year round, the need for real time information on water quality is increasingly needed. The electronic warning signs are undoubtedly more effective in delivering information to the public fast on water quality issues and SAS will be urging the Scottish Executive to give consideration to the all year round placement of such signs at selected beaches popular for bathing and recreational water sport.”

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