Election Candidates Questioned Over Sewage by SAS

Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) has begun its election campaigning for improved sewage treatment in Guernsey by asking all prospective candidates to answer a ‘sewage questionnaire’. The resulting answers will be compiled and shown online in the run up to polling day.

Sewage has moved up the political agenda in Guernsey after extensive campaigning by SAS over the past few years. After narrowly missing out on improved sewage treatment after a States vote last October, SAS now believe a shake up of Government could deliver swift decisions on the issue, following years of procrastination.

With over 4000 islanders already having signed a petition calling for full sewage treatment, SAS believe this is an important election issue and one that islanders will want to hear candidates views on.

SAS are keen to see Guernsey invest in upgrading its sewage treatment process to a tertiary level (full). This would bring it in to line with many of the sewage treatment works currently operating in seaside resorts across the UK and Europe.

Natural marine treatment is often used to describe how Guernsey’s sewage is treated. In effect, this means that all sewage is discharged raw to sea, but with some screening to take out the gross solids and sewage related debris. As there is NO treatment there is NO effect on reducing the viral or bacterial loading of the effluent. This is why water quality can be poor at times and could lead to public health risks.

To date, Guernsey’s leaders have become far too comfortable with the term ‘natural marine treatment’. Yet this term has often been used out of context in the past as it relates primarily to developing nations, many of which have no sewage disposal facilities whatsoever. Such nations have different priorities than those in the West, needing to direct capital towards many things taken for granted in much of Europe.

Scientist’s have long shared the view that for developed countries ‘natural marine treatment’ is NOT an acceptable long-term practice.

Richard Hardy, SAS Campaigns Director says: “Guernsey has had long enough to move away from this system and should not allow itself to feel comfortable that ‘natural marine treatment’ does the job anymore – it doesn’t. Without a commitment to a full sewage treatment policy, Guernsey effectively remains a developing nation when it comes to sewage disposal. This election could be pivotal in seeing a change in Government attitude and we are confident it will be a topic of interest for prospective candidates to engage with and for those candidates who are successful, to then deliver on”.