To consider a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, copy attached as item 7
The Committee had a report before it attached as item 7, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to a signed copy of these minutes. The report before members provided background to the Committee to assist the scrutiny of the results of the Adur and Worthing 2019 bathing water quality monitoring. Representatives from Southern Water were present to answer questions.
Representatives from Southern Water made a presentation, the slides from which are attached to a signed copy of these minutes.
A Member asked about the process of misconnection and how it could be prevented. A representative from Southern Water told the Committee that it was a challenging issue. There were discussions ongoing with colleagues from different bodies which included ideas around making sure ‘check a trade’ affiliates were aware of how to connect to the correct sewer.
A Member asked if it were possible to have an additional testing site in East Worthing. Members were told that there could be one but it would need to be agreed with the Environment Agency and DEFRA.
A Member asked when it was expected that Worthing’s bathing water quality could be designated as excellent? Members were told that 2021 was the target and the reason for this was the way in which the data was assessed (over a four year period).
A Member asked the following question: Bearing in mind the importance of misconnections, could we have a numerical update of how many, if any, owners still need to rectify their misconnections? Members were told that results were being monitored closely. A lot of money had been invested but if there was a high priority resources could be diverted. Grant money from Southern Water had allowed Adur and Worthing to put into place extra dog patrols and other measures.
A Member asked the following question: This is good work, I also understand dog poo is being washed in via roadside gullies, what work is being done with WSCC here re: ‘sea starts here’ campaigns or similar? Members were told that gulleys had been cleansed although that did not prevent more people picking up after their dogs. Responsible communications and public engagement could be carried out to highlight the impact of people’s behaviour.
A Member asked what percentage of non-human waste taken from samples could be attributed to dogs. Members were told that the information would be provided as it wasn’t available to hand. Members discussed the matter of dog fouling further and were told of the possibility that beach wardens could be authorised to hand out fixed penalty notices.
A Member asked how many properties there were with misconnections. Members were told that the only way to really know was to have greater resources to monitor the situation. Members discussed the matter and resolved to write to the Southern Water Chief Executive to request additional resources in this area.
A Member asked if there was a power to give penalties to companies found to have connected waste water to the incorrect sewer. Members were told that this may be something that the authority or environment agency could look at. Where information was available records could be kept of responsible builders to see if patterns of miss-connection could be identified.
A Member asked if there could be funds allocated from Southern Water to promote tourism using the good bathing water quality. The member was told that this is something Southern Water could take back.
A Member asked why 28% of the regions water had been rated good and 72% as sufficient and was told that the reasons were complex, a response would be provided after the meeting.
A Member asked if PSPOs could be issued by PCSOs and was told that the matter could be looked into.
i) that the Committee write to the CEO of Southern Water and request that resources be given to the misconnection team to improve and increase the size of the team.
ii) that Southern water be invited back to the Committee to present bathing water quality results following the four yearly results due in 2021