A huge sewage spill has turned the sea brown at one of Cornwall’s most famous and picturesque beaches. Footage shows the turqouise water at Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes turning a murky colour yesterday as a plume of sewage pumped in.
Environmental campaigners blasted the sight at the tourist hotspot as “sickening but sadly unsurprising”.
A video of the sewage spill at the popular beach was shared on social media with the caption: “Speechless”.
A local surfer told Cornwall Live: “Growing up here, I’ve seen some bad ones. It’s unfortunately an increasingly regular occurrence once again.”
South West Water said the overflow took place after “heavy, localised rainfall” on Sunday morning.
Amy Slack, head of campaigns and policy at Surfers Against Sewage, said: “The scenes of sewage pouring into the sea in St Agnes, at the end of half-term weekend, are sickening but sadly unsurprising.
“Ineffective regulation and weak enforcement have led us to a position where 2.7 million hours of raw sewage were pumped into our waterways last year, poisoning precious ecosystems, making people sick, and all while water companies rack up huge profits.
“We demand that the Government urgently reviews its wholly inadequate sewage action plan, properly funds the industry regulator to hold water companies to account, and finally makes real efforts to put an end to sewage pollution for good.”
Eight of Cornwall’s beaches were unusable due to recent sewage releases as of 5pm on Sunday, according to Surfers Against Sewage.
It comes as the water industry has seen its reputation battered by rising public anger over sewage spills from overflow drains into rivers and the sea during heavy rain.
Water companies are allowed to discharge raw sewage when the system is overwhelmed to protect homes.
A South West Water spokesman said: “This year the South West has seen the dramatic changes in weather patterns presented by climate change, as demonstrated in August when the region was declared in drought.
“Through these changes we are now experiencing more extreme weather patterns than ever before and this year the South West saw one of the driest and hottest years on record.
“As well as prolonged periods of extremely hot weather, we have seen heavy localised rainfall which hasn’t been able to permeate into the dry ground, meaning significant volumes run into our network, which can cause our storm overflows to trigger.
“Following heavy, localised rainfall on Sunday morning, a permitted storm overflow triggered at Trevaunance Cove in St Agnes, Cornwall.
“Storm overflows are designed to release excess storm water into rivers and seas when a prolonged rainfall occurs to prevent the risk of sewage backing up and flooding homes and public spaces by allowing a controlled release.
“We continue to increase investment in the region’s infrastructure as part of our continued commitment to protecting and enhancing the natural environment.”