Surfers Rescue Mission For Ilfracombe’s Failing Water Quality

On Friday 26th & Saturday 27th February, a team of the 12 best Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) volunteer reps will visit Ilfracombe, promoting the Cleaner Coastal Catchment message to local businesses.  The Cleaner Coastal Catchment initiative has been developed by SAS to assist the community in improving the poor water quality at Wildersmouth, Ilfracombe.  SAS volunteers will provide local businesses with free Cleaner Coastal Catchment resource packs to encourage small improvements across the community.  These small actions can add up to incredible collective improvements in water quality.  This initiative is supported by the Environment Agency.

Photocall:  11am, 26/02/16 The team of SAS volunteers will kick the day off by delivering the first Cleaner Coastal Catchment pack to the manager of the iconic Landmark Theatre.  The Mayor of Ilfracombe will be on hand to add his support to the initiative.   

Unfortunately, Ilfracombe’s Wildersmouth beach failed the 2015 bathing water standards, and from May 2016, will be required to display permanent signage warning potential swimmers and bathers against using the sea due to possible health risks from the poor water quality.  
To address this problem, the Cleaner Coastal Catchments initiative was developed by SAS for both Ilfracombe and Porth (Cornwall).  Both these communities have struggled with poor water quality in recent years.  Working with experts from the Environment Agency, SAS have developed bespoke action plans addressing the most likely sources of pollution impacting the water quality and promotes 7 simple steps to reducing pollution:

1.     Make sure fats, oils, and greases (FOGs) never go down the drain.  When they enter the sewerage system, they cause blockages and sewage spills;

2.     Think Before You Flush, never put sanitary items like wipes and cotton bud sticks down the loo.  It’s not a wet bin and these items cause blockages and sewage spills;

3.     Learn about the geography of your catchment and how it can influence water quality;

4.     Investigate if your house is connected to the correct water & waste water pipes;

5.     Reduce water consumption.  Keeping clean water out of sewers saves you money and helps prevent sewer overflow events;

6.     Report any pollution events you witness to the Environment Agency;

7.     Use the Safer Seas Service to receive free, real-time information about water quality at Ilfracombe.   This enables you to make an informed choice about the best place to go in the sea.

The Cleaner Coastal Catchment initiative is supported by a great website detailing the issues affecting water quality and outlining the relevant solutions.  SAS are inviting everyone across the Ilfracombe catchment to visit the website and pledge their support for the initiative before sharing it with their friends and family on social media.  But this weekend the team of SAS volunteer reps will be in Ilfracombe going door to door to sign up local businesses to the Cleaner Coastal Catchment initiative.    

SAS rep and North Devon resident Claire Moodie says:  “We are urging the Ilfracombe community get right behind the Cleaner Coastal Catchments initiative, together we can rescue the poor water quality at Wildersmouth.  The SAS team will be visiting as many businesses as we can over two days, handing out free stickers, posters and resources to encourage everyone to play their part.  If you see the SAS team around please ask us about how you can help.”