Ultra Violet Treatment (UV) is a process where ultraviolet light is applied to sewage effluent to reduce levels of bacteria in water used for bathing or watersports.
Northumbrian Water applied to the Environment Agency to turn off UV treatment at six sewage treatment works on the north east coast outside the bathing season which runs from 15 May to 30 September.
The company wants to do this to save 2,200 tonnes of carbon emissions and help meet its climate change targets. Following detailed studies at each of the sites and a consultation, we’ve concluded that UV treatment can be switched off between October to April at Hendon, Billingham, Seaton Carew and Bran Sands.
The turning off of UV at Marske has been refused and at Howdon, UV can only be turned off between December and March. This decision is based on the numbers of surfers near these locations.
We have only allowed Northumbrian Water to turn off the UV treatment where we are confident there will be no increased risk to the health of water users.
During the assessment, we engaged Professor David Kay from the Centre for Research in Environment and Health (CREH) at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth as an external expert in the field of environment and health to review the technical parts of the applications.