Have a Very Smelly Xmas

It’s Christmas Eve and we’ve received Xmas greetings from South West Water. As well as a revised water bill for a quarter of the amount of the original one, comes news via the WaterFit Live map that our local big beach break at Widemouth Sand has endured another 4 hours worth of sewage pollution earlier this morning:

Here’s the GFS forecast for total precipitable water across the northern hemisphere this morning, which reveals plenty of moisture heading our way from the tropics:

Here’s the Met Office forecast for accumulated rainfall over the next 48 hours:

It seems inevitable that we will have much more nearby sewage pollution to report by Boxing Day morning.

P.S. The Met Office has just issued a weather warning for wind and rain across South West England on Wednesday:

The Environment Agency has also issued flood alerts for West & North Devon, and North Cornwall:

For our local Upper Tamar area the EA say that:

Flooding is possible today, Sunday 24th throughout Christmas and into Wednesday 27th December.

River levels on the Tamar have risen quickly after overnight rain. Further persistent rain is forecast in North Cornwall and West Devon today and Monday 25th. The rain may be heavy at times, especially Monday afternoon.

With bands of rain throughout the next 3 day Christmas period, river levels will remain high and are forecast to rise above Flood Alert levels. This may result in flooding to low lying land and roads close to the river.

Looking further ahead heavy rain is forecast into Wednesday 27th December. This may lead to further flood alerts and possibly flood warnings being issued.

[Update – Christmas Day]

Sadly it doesn’t come as a surprise to report that Long Rock in Penzance has been added to the list of South West beaches suffering from sewage pollution:

Here is Christmas morning’s Surfers Against Sewage pollution map:

[Update – Boxing Day]

After a damp Christmas Day, the rain has stopped for the moment. However the Met Office have named the impending bad weather system “Storm Gerrit“. The worst of the rain is now forecast to arrive further north, and whilst the severe weather warning for wind around the coast of Devon and Cornwall remains, the warning for rain has been removed:

Overnight South West Water’s CSO at Portreath finally stopped operating after almost a week:

However it has now started up again!

The overflow at Widemouth Bay is inactive at the moment, following another pulse overnight:

The overflow in Penzance also had a final burst yesterday evening:

[Update – December 27th]

The worst of the rain from Storm Gerrit is further north, but more than enough has fallen on Devon and Cornwall. Here is the Surfers Against Sewage pollution map at lunch time:

As you can see, there are plenty of “red flagged” beaches to choose from. Let’s start with nearby Widemouth Bay again, where the sewage flood gates opened once again at 10 AM:

[Update – December 28th]

The Surfers Against Sewage pollution map now looks like this:

By my count that makes a grand total of 50 West Country beaches that have endured sewage pollution over the last 48 hours. Starting close to home, here are a selection of north coast spots that are still suffering after more than 24 hours. First up is Widemouth Bay:

Next there is long suffering Harlyn Bay:

Further west there is Portreath yet again:

St. Ives managed to escape the onslaught after somewhat less than a full day:

[Update – 8 PM on December 28th]

This afternoon Woolacombe has been added to the list of north coast surfing beaches where the sewage flood gates have opened:

It remains to be seen how long that “spill” lasts, but over on the other coast of Devon several beaches have been putting up with sewage pollution for over a day. There are currently two CSOs on the go in Exmouth:

Further east we come to Sidmouth:

and then Seaton:

[Update – December 29th]

Heading west along the south coast you will probably not be surprised to discover plenty of ongoing sewage pollution along the usually calmer south coast of Cornwall. First of all here’s sewage from the Menheniot treatment works heading to the beach at the Cornish settlement of Seaton via the hopefully not too confusingly named River Seaton:

Then the Fowey sewage treatment works is currently discharging into the River Fowey:

Finally, for the moment at least, there’s the Menagwins treatment works near St. Austell, discharging into the River Vinnick and reaching St. Austell Bay at Pentewan:

[Update – December 30th]

South West Water’s WaterFit Live information is suffering from IT issues this morning:

Hence some of the following might be slightly out of date. However the CSO activations at Woolacombe, Portreath, Menheniot, St. Austell and Ivybridge are still ongoing.

Croyde Bay was affected for almost an hour yesterday evening:

In North Cornwall the overflow at Widemouth Bay finally finished after a last burst at 19:12 yesterday evening:

The CSOs at Marsh Mills in Plymouth have finally stopped operating, but there is an ongoing new discharge into the River Plym:

[Update – December 31st]

It’s early afternoon on New Years Eve, and the passage of what Meteo France has dubbed “Storm Geraldine” has deposited yet more rain on soggy South West England. Here’s the latest incarnation of SWW’s WaterFit Live map, which reveals that over 50 beaches in Devon and Cornwall have been polluted in the last 12 hours:

Sticking with our own corner of the north coast to begin with, the combined sewer overflow at Widemouth Bay has been in operation for almost a day:

Up in North Devon Woolacombe pumping station has been overflowing continuously for over 3 days:

Next door Croyde Bay has been pumping for just a few minutes:

Back in North Cornwall, the St Merryn storm overflow has also been operating for almost 24 hours:

To be continued…

Jim Hunt

I've been programming computers since the late 60s. In those days they didn't have computers in schools, so we had to build our own. What can I program next? Will I have to build it first?

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Jim Hunt

    An update on the state of some South Devon rivers:

    The CSOs near Marsh Mills in Plymouth discharging towards the River Plym have been operating almost continuously since December 3rd:

    The Ivybridge CSO discharging into the River Erme has been operating almost continuously since December 4th:

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