Scottish authorities have been accused by environmentalists of failing to protect the public from polluted beaches. Friends of the Earth (FoE) are calling on the Scottish Parliament to instruct councils to close beaches which do not meet health and safety standards. At the official start of the bathing season this month, FoE issued a report indicating that, of the 117 Scots beaches it had monitored, 25 had faecal coliforms exceeding 10,000 per 100 ml of water. Sewage was said to be the main cause.

A new guide on public safety at reservoirs has been published by Water UK. The booklet, Public Access to Open Reservoirs, spells out how water suppliers can reduce the risk of accidents happening to members of the public visiting the industry’s thousands of reservoirs. It costs £10 and is available from Water UK publications on 01473 824447.

Work has begun on Northumbrian Water’s £70M project at Howdon on Tyneside to improve sewage treatment for more than 1M people. Secondary treatment is being installed at Howdon which is the largest STW between the estuaries of the Forth and the Thames. Almost £300M is being invested in the next six years on similar improvements.

Last month saw the completion by North West Water of six new schemes which are part of a £70m project to improve the wastewater network along the Fylde. As part of the company’s ongoing investment to improve bathing waters, additional storage capacity for wastewater is also being built.

South West Water has pleaded guilty to supplying water unfit for human consumption, when 100,000 consumers in Cornwall were supplied with discoloured water. The company was fined £10,000 and ordered to pay £5,970 in prosecution costs.

The Environment Agency has stepped up its drive to minimise waste generated by companies. Already involved in more than 100 projects across England and Wales, savings of millions of pounds have been generated for the firms involved. The EA has now published a new waste minimisation policy, aimed at ensuring its work in this key issue is applied consistently across England and Wales and deploys the best techniques.

Cranfield University is extending its range of postgraduate development programmes this summer. This includes a new MSc in Water and Wastewater Engineering, a modular programme based around a series of professionally delivered short courses such as engineering hydraulics, water and wastewater treatment principles and pumps and pumping systems. Designed specifically for companies wishing to develop the engineering capabilities of their staff, the programme can be completed over a 2-3 year period. For more details contact Clive Temple on 01234 754056, email [email protected]

A major attraction for visitors to Pumps & Systems 99 is a two-day conference entitled ‘Your pumps, your systems, your business’. The conference, supported by the BPMA and BVAMA, will be directed towards end-users and highlight the application of technologies across a wide range of industries. Speakers will include: Dr Hugh Faulkner from ETSU; Mike Woodhouse, Europump Services; Dr C Pollock, University of Warwick; and Dr Campbell Hope, AEA Technology. The exhibition will be held at the Telford International Centre on 29-30 September. For more details,

Tel: 0118 930 3151.

Utility Buyers’ Forum (UBF) warns that UK business is facing an extra £400m water bill per annum from next April. The £400m represents the difference between water companies’ projections for prices in the period April 2000 – 05, as against proposals from Ofwat. UBF is stepping up its campaign for greater transparency in water pricing for business and will also be asking the DETR to phase the capital spending required for environmental improvements over ten rather than five years. UBF says that clear pricing information will enable business purchasers to separate out the costs for which they should be charged and long overdue efficiency savings from which they should benefit.

The EA is urging farmers across the country to take special care when making silage in the coming weeks. Farmers may have more silage effluent to deal with than normal because of recent periods of heavy rain which have encouraged the rapid growth of lush grass.

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