The Environment Agency has informed the Parish Council that the leakage from the Sewage Treatment Works at BoS on to the beaches at Bigbury-on-Sea and Challaborough is caused by a ruptured discharge pipe, carrying ‘treated’ sewage; hence the 24/7 tanker operation to relieve the load from the SWW storage tank. As of 5.30pm on 25th May, Environmental Health (SHDC) have told the Parish Council that the leakage has stopped because tankers are ensuring nothing remains in the holding tank. The tanker operation will continue to ensure this remains the case!
Divers will be inspecting the blocked pipe out at sea forthwith and, presumably, work will continue to fix the broken pipe on land.
Meanwhile, the beach warning signs to ‘avoid the sea’ are to be removed as soon as possible but will be reinstated if any leakage resumes, by authority of the Environment Agency.
Anybody noticing leakage from the cliff face should contact the Environment Agency on their toll-free, 24/7 number 0800 807060.
NOTE FROM SWW (owned by Pennon Group) to Parish Council. RECEIVED 26 May 2023:
Please find below response to your further question.
The effluent from Bigbury Sewage Treatment Works (STW) is fully secondary biologically treated* and is well within the parameters of its discharge permit. UV disinfection is not considered a requirement by the EA under the permit for this STW and the bathing waters at Challaborough, Bigbury on Sea North and Bigbury on Sea South consistently meet Excellent standards (as monitored by the Environment Agency) and have done for the last few years.
Please be reassured that we have taken the decision to tanker from the STW to minimise any discharge, not due to any concerns we have regarding water quality (for which we will continue to sample), but rather due to the location of the leak and any concerns this may cause.
*EDITOR’S NOTE:- Secondary treatment (mostly biological wastewater treatment) is the removal of biodegradable organic matter (in solution or suspension) from sewage or similar kinds of wastewater. The aim is to achieve a certain degree of effluent quality in a sewage treatment plant suitable for the intended disposal or reuse option. A “primary treatment” step often precedes secondary treatment, whereby physical phase separation is used to remove settleable solids. During secondary treatment, biological processes are used to remove dissolved and suspended organic matter measured as biochemical oxygen demand (BOD). These processes are performed by microorganisms in a managed aerobic or anaerobic process depending on the treatment technology. Bacteria and protozoa consume biodegradable soluble organic contaminants (e.g. sugars, fats, and organic short-chain carbon molecules from human waste, food waste, soaps and detergent) while reproducing to form cells of biological solids. Secondary treatment is widely used in sewage treatment and is also applicable to many agricultural and industrial wastewaters.