Opinion: South Bay confusions

A new Envioronment Agency DNA report on South Bay water quality casts doubt on the draft report.
A new Envioronment Agency DNA report on South Bay water quality casts doubt on the draft report.

The draft DNA report recently released by the Environment Agency with regard to the bacterial issues affecting Scarborough South Bay has now been thrown into doubt following the release of a further report by Jonathan Porter, regarded as an eminent microbiologist within the Environment Agency.

In Jonathan Porter’s report which is the final Environment Agency report, Porter states:

l Unusually high PH values noted on August 8

l The data should not be used as the sole evidence for management activities and expenditure

l That the data is highly speculative and should not be taken in any way as definitive findings

l The speculative nature of this section of the report must  be reiterated again at this point; several assumptions have been listed above; any or all must be considered unrealistic.

Numerous other criticisms may also be justified. Porter does however present some good news:

l The Microbial Source Tracking data suggest that pollution for donkeys was NOT a significant source of faecal indicator organisms in these samples.

l High numbers of Intestinal Enterococci and E.Coli are present in the industrial effluent on site

He also goes on to state:

“However, there is evidence that the bacterial community from the industrial effluent can impact on the bacterial community at South Bay. This is estimated to happen 10-20% of the time from this (limited) data set.”

That is an interesting comment, perhaps if full data set had been taken then that percentage may have risen to 70-80% of the time.

In yet another report, undertaken previously (Hull University Campus), for the Environment Agency it states: “The highest abundance and diversity of birds and number of gulls was seen at Scalby Mills during long term sampling”.

So where does that leave us with regard to the water quality of South Bay?

Yorkshire Water for their part have also conducted a DNA sampling campaign, the results of which have not been made public and quite possibly may never see the light of day.

However in the interests of all parties Yorkshire Water should make public a full disclosure of their own findings.