'Sewage' caught on video pouring into sea on Cornish beach where people 'swam in poo'

  • Watch as storm overflow gushes out and into the ocean at Harlyn Bay in Cornwall

South West Water has admitted "there is more to do" after a series of pictures and videos showing what is reportedly sewage being discharged at a Cornish beach.

It comes after a family said they "swam in poo" at Harlyn Bay earlier this week because the warning signs were "too small for them to notice".

On 2 August, videos emerged showing storm overflow gushing out and into the ocean.

While filming the footage, one man says: "Back of Harlyn Sands, Padstow. Raw sewage, absolutely stinks. They've been down here the past four days testing it and trying to unblock it."

What is believed to be toilet matter has been found discharged at Harlyn Bay Credit: BPM Media

In the video discoloured water can clearly be seen at the point of discharge into the sea.

Pictures have also been shared appearing to show toilet waste in the area.

A storm sewage discharge warning remains in place at the beach.

In April, South West Water was given a £2.1million fine for pollution and dumping sewage in Cornwall.

It comes after a woman questioned why sewage affected beaches are allowed to remain open after unknowingly swimming in poo.

The woman, who lives locally, said she did not see the two small sewage warning signs placed at Harlyn Bay on Sunday 30 July.

The warning signs were put up on 30 July Credit: BPM Media

She said: "I am concerned that the emergency pump overflow is being used routinely as opposed to 'emergency use'.

"My concern is signage. Two small signs on Harlyn, one on the lifeguard hut and one on the main beach. I am a local and wasn’t aware. We went swimming with the children and had no idea we were swimming in poo. Why is the beach still open for swimming?"

South West Water has said in a statement that storm overflows are permitted following heavy rain and that they stop homes from flooding. The company did however say that it hopes to reduce the use of the overflows.

Combined sewage overflows in the drainage network combine surface run-off with household sewage and can become overwhelmed during and after periods of heavy or extended rain.

Companies including South West Water are then allowed to let them pour into the sea, including the raw sewage, to prevent it backing up into homes.

Some took it upon themselves to warn locals of sewage at Harlyn Bay Credit: BPM Media

A South West Water spokesperson said: “There has been permitted storm overflow activity at some locations in Cornwall today following heavy, localised rainfall. Storm overflows are pressure relief valves built into our network that are an essential way to stop homes and businesses from flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.

“Reducing the use of storm overflows is a priority. We know there is more to do, and that is why we are investing record levels to dramatically reduce the use of storm overflows and reduce our impact on rivers by one-third by 2025.

“In Harlyn Bay, we are investing up to £800,000 to March 2025 to reduce the risk of environmental impact from our sewerage network and improve bathing water quality."

An interactive map has now been created showing sewage releases around the coast.