Water Quality in Chichester and Langstone Harbours
As environmental and water quality rep for our rowing club, I attended at meeting held in Langstone Sailing Club on Thursday 9 December on the above subject. The Speakers were Mike Owns of Hayling Sewage Watch and Rob Bailey who represents the environmental interests of clubs in Chichester Harbour Federation and clubs operating in Langstone Harbour.
Hayling Sewage Watch, a pressure group, presented on some of the issue on outfall from sewage treatment works, mainly at Budds Farm, but also from some works in Chichester Harbour. Some interesting animated graphics were shown indicating the flow of effluent from the long outfall running from Eastney into Spithead. The graphics showed is swilling around Spithead and flowing into Chichester Entrance.
Facts were presented on the amount of fines that our waste water treatment authority (Southern Water) were levied up to 2015.(£90 million) The authority took it on the chin, paid the fines and got on with performing their role.
I think many of us find this sort of behaviours unacceptable with an authority which is effectively responsible for an aspect of Public Health.
Rob Bailey gave a talk about getting biologists and others backed by local universities to fund a study to understand and publish exactly what is in the waters of our harbours as a result of sewage treatment and land run-off. So here are some of the things that enter our harbours from different sources:-
Nitrates from farming
Sewage treatment works
Human waste and associated bacteria
micro plastics - from washing machines
Anti -depressants and other prescription drugs
Mercury and other heavy metals
The project to understand what and how much of the above is in our harbours is called "Project Spotlight". Funding will be sought by interested parties to get this underway. Expect to hear more about this in the coming weeks.
In the closing Q & A session I asked if once we knew what was in our waters, could waste water treatment plants remove them? I was advised, some treatment works in other countries can do this, but they are using the very latest technology which is far beyond what we have here and now.
A discussion ensued that WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE. We all need to think about what we flush down the loo and whether we wear man-made or natural fibres, as these go into our washing machines and then contribute to the problems.
I think the above sumarises the session, I know Geoff and Nigel were also there, so thay may have other things to add.
I would like to close with one personal view. This has nothing to do with the meeting I attended. It is to do with treating waste water as a public health issue and I do not want this to be seen as a political point:-
Southern Water is a private monopoly, none of us have a choice as to who treats our waste water, unlike other privatised utilities we can get gas, water, phone services from a number of suppliers. The argument being that competition stimulates the market. Southern Water, does a job, when it fails, it pays the fines, it still makes a profit and rewards its investors. Perhaps consider campaigning for your elected representatives to make waste water treatment a public health priority and get the correct level of public funding needed for water treatment. We will all still have to pay our water rates, but that money will only go to running a service, not rewarding investors.
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Re: Water Quality in Chichester and Langstone Harbours
Thank you Mark, really appreciate what you are doing here. I'm also not usually political about whether nationalisation or privatisation works - clearly both do sometimes and both fail sometimes - but some kind of framework that stops our beautiful harbours and indeed rivers being polluted is urgently needed.
I agree – thank you Mark. As well as what is suggested, I know the Save our South Coast Alliance (part of Project Spotlight) needs lots of detailed evidence. Using your phone or IPad in the LANDSCAPE shape (ie: not portrait) record:
Videos of sewage outflows at the scene of discharge AND its surroundings
·Videos of any upsurges in homes, gardens, high streets .
Make a note of: Sender’s name; date of film; location as exact as possible; and brief description of what you have filmed. Send as Attachments to: email@example.com
SOSCA has joined together with an Environment Film company who will compile this evidence and create a time ‘story’ of just how appalling the reality of the situation is.
Anne de Potier
(Apologies if this is unsuitable for the Forum - please remove it if so)