An Unhappy New Year for South West Surfers

What with one thing and another we decided not to go for a New Year’s Day surfing session in the North Atlantic. We went for a walk this morning instead, before the worst of today’s rain started:

By way of explanation for our decision, here’s this afternoon’s map of coastal sewage pollution according to Surfers Against Sewage:

According to South West Water’s WaterFit Live map pollution at our local big beach break at Widemouth Bay began again earlier today. What’s more the Madeira Drive pumping station combined sewer overflow has been operating for much of the last week:

Given the size of today’s surf, as well as all the pollution, we would be searching for somewhere more sheltered from south-westerly winds. A bit further down the coast is Crackington Haven, but the St. Gennys CSO is also in action:

Further west still is Harlyn Bay, but it’s the same story there:

Looking for shelter further north instead, Lynton might be on our radar screen. However as you may have surmised by now the aptly name Basket Shop CSO is also active:

All in all a gentle stroll seemed infinitely preferable to potentially ingesting significant quantities of escherichia coli and/or intestinal enterococci!

[Update – January 2nd]

This morning the Met Office has issued an amber warning for wind and a yellow warning for rain due to the freshly named Storm Henk:

Here is how South West Water’s WaterFit Live map looks at 9 AM this morning:

It look as though January 2nd 2024 going to be an interesting day for both weather and sewage pollution!

[Update – January 3rd]

I managed to snap a picture of some blue sky over Halwill football pitch earlier this morning!

However 15 minutes later the first heavy shower of the day had already arrived:

Things aren’t set improve either. The Met Office has issued another weather warning for rain tomorrow:

What’s more the red flood warning for the Lower River Torridge has still not been removed.

For your further edification, here is the 9 AM edition of South West Water’s WaterFit Live map of sewage pollution around our shores:

Here is a comparison between today’s morning and afternoon versions of the Westward Ho! page on South West Water’s WaterFit Live web portal:

Note how news of the sewage “spill” in the afternoon hides all evidence of the one this morning.

Here’s a similar set of screenshots of the Croyde Bay page:

I wonder how long the current Croyde pumping station CSO activation will last?

[Update – January 4th]

Finally the strong onshore winds are veering offshore, thanks to the forecast high pressure.

The Surfline surf forecast for nearby Widemouth Bay is looking good:

However there is still one very large bluebottle in the North Atlantic ointment. Here’s South West Water’s sewage pollution map for the West Country this morning:

and here’s what’s been happening at Widemouth for the last few days:

Note that there is now no public record available via South West Water’s web site of the multi-day sewage pollution incident at Widemouth Bay that apparently stopped at some point overnight.

[Update – January 5th]

The weather forecast is slowly improving. The Environment Agency have removed the flood warning for the Lower Torridge catchment. However, the flood alert in the Upper Tamar catchment remains:

This morning I even managed to snap a picture of part of Dartmoor:

However the next heavy shower has now reached us:

South West Water’s WaterFit Live sewage pollution map for looks no better this morning:

Neither does the Widemouth Bay page, which reveals that the Madeira Drive CSO has once again been pumping poop into the ocean for several hours already this morning:

[Update – January 6th]

Here is South West Water’s WaterFit Live sewage pollution map at the start of the weekend:

Is there still no end in sight to the pollution at Widemouth Bay?

Or at Woolacombe further north?

[Update – January 10th]

The sewage pollution situation around our coast continues to improve with the continuing cold, clear weather:

Looking at this morning’s WaterFit Live map I cannot help but wonder whether SWW could have a word with their web site designer and persuade them to move all the orange pushpins above the blue ones?

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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