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Title 3
Thanet District Council are very justly proud of its beaches and bays,
the recognition these have been given by the award of 9 Blue Flags by
Keep Britain Tidy, and the excellent water quality we have around our
coast.

We are very concerned about the assertions that have been set out by
Surfers Against Sewage in relation to Thanetís beaches as they seem to
be based on a blanket approach to this issue with absolutely no
understanding of local conditions.

The listing of 5 Blue Flag beaches in Thanet appears to be based on an
assumption that these are affected by combined sewer outfalls (CSO), but
without any actual knowledge of the real position in the area.

They seem unaware of the major work undertaken by Southern Water to
completely change the management of sewage in Thanet, which amounted to
an investment of over £80 million in the last few years. This investment
helped to ensure that waste discharges did not affect the water quality
around our coast. It included state of the art waste water treatment, as
well as the introduction of huge amounts of storage capacity to deal
with periods of very heavy rainfall. Added to this is the final
discharge point for treated clean water is over 1.9km from Thanetís
coast where the combination of distance, currents and tides make the
impact on our coast vanishingly small even if there was a problem.

This investment has had a significant impact on the quality of water
around Thanetís coast and has led to us achieving 9 Blue Flags this
year. The water around our coast is tested in all the main bays on a
weekly basis by the Environment Agency and has an almost uniformly
excellent rating.

The criteria quoted by the Surfers Against Sewage is based on an
assumption that a hazard exists and would lead to action in relation to
the Blue Flags. This situation does not occur in Thanet as a result of
the problem raised by them about CSOís and accordingly Thanet fully
comply with the requirements of the Blue Flag system run by Keep Britain
Tidy.

The water quality in the area can be affected slightly during periods
of very heavy rainfall because water runs off roads, footways and other
surfaces down towards the bays. This does get picked up by the weekly
testing of water quality, and the Council do provide advice about this
on its beach notice boards. However, this has nothing to do with the
issue raised about CSOís and has nothing to do with sewage.

Thanet District Council would wish to assure people that the Blue Flags
it has been awarded for its beaches and bays are fully merited and are
in no way affected by the scaremongering by Surfers Against Sewage. Our
beaches are wonderful and have excellent water quality.