Wednesday, 7 May 2008

The duplicity of South West Water

Here in Cornwall we have the delights of being 'served' by South West Water. This is the company that managed to poison the people of Camelford by dumping poisonous chemicals into the drinking water supply.

To be fair, they are trying to cope with an area that has 30% of the country's coastline and only 3% of the population. That's why our water bills can reach £1000 per year without breaking sweat.

Being a tourist area, one of our key requests is that the company does more than what is known as 'primary treatment'. I won't go into too many details, but primary treatment leads to fairly recognisable 'stuff' being dumped out to sea. In many cases it just washes its way back to shore with all the delightful impact that has on holiday makers sitting on the beaches, as well as watersports participants. That's what led, many moons ago, to the establishment of the pressure group Surfers Against Sewage.

Anyway, so much for history. Today we learn that a campaign by local residents in Tintagel against SWW's plans for primary treatment only for their area has been successful. The County Council (ahem, Lib Dem led) has agreed that the water company must submit new plans taking the treatment to at least secondary level. It's not perfect, but it does mean that you are less likely to be swimming against the turds.

What did SWW say when it heard the news? Chris Mills, SWW commmunications director, said:

"Our goal all along has been to provide residents and visitors with a modern sewage treatment system that represents the best value for money for our customers."

Forgive me for not actually giving him much credence. He appears to have caught the disease that is currently affecting members of Reading Labour Party.

Hat tip Jonathan Wallace

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