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Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Precautionary no sea-swimming advice issued for St Aubin’s Bay

15 June 2023

The Infrastructure and Environment department is currently, as a precaution, advising Islanders not to swim in St Aubin’s Bay.

Environmental and biological issues mean the discharge into the sea from the Sewage Treatment Works (STW) at Bellozanne is, temporarily, not at its usual standard.

Warm weather, little rainfall, a lower-than-normal load arriving at the STW and biological factors are all thought to have contributed to the reduced effluent quality. 

Signs have gone up in St Aubin’s Bay this morning advising Islanders not to swim in the area.

Infrastructure and Environment Chief Officer, Andy Scate, said: “We believe it’s a series of factors, all happening at the same time, that have contributed to the discharge not being at the standard we’d like. Higher-than-normal ammonia levels are entering the Sewage Treatment Works, and there are low flows through the facility because of reduced surface water. Along with this, an overeffective initial stage means there’s a reduced concentration of organic matter that the bacteria require to function properly in the plant. This causes a reduced biological activity which affects the quality of the final discharge.”

Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, said: “We’ve adopted a precautionary approach and are awaiting the results of seawater tests which will tell us more about whether bacteria levels are up across the Bay. Further testing is going on today. We aren’t necessarily declaring that it’s dangerous to swim in the area, but we also cannot guarantee that there’s not an increased risk to swimming there. Until we can give that assurance, we ask that you please don’t swim in St Aubin’s Bay.”

Minister for Infrastructure, Deputy Tom Binet, said: “I’m keen to reassure Islanders that this is far from being raw sewage going out into the sea. It has been through the system and treated, but the output isn’t at the levels we’d want to see. Officers at the STW are working on a number of potential solutions, and are speaking frequently with the Environmental and Consumer Protection team in the Regulation Directorate.” 

Anyone who has been swimming in the area and starts to feel unwell or has health concerns should speak to their doctor (GP). The Environmental and Consumer Protection switchboard is also open for public health advice each weekday on 01534 445 808. 

The Assistant Minister with responsibility for Sport, Deputy Lucy Stephenson, added: “We’re aware the Jersey Triathlon is due to be held in St Aubin’s Bay this weekend and have been in touch with the organisers. We’ll be keeping in regular contact with them as we get more test results through and learn more about the situation.” 

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