Over 150 people disgusted at raw sewage pouring into the sea at Godrevy gathered at the beach on Saturday to tell South West water to clean up its act.

The local community and Surfers Against Sewage took part in the action against South West Water’s repeated sewage discharges.

Surfers Against Sewage said they and the community felt compelled to act, after South West Water discharged sewage three times in a two week period during June/July 2014.

Raw sewage carries a raft of risks to people's health and directly impacts on surfers, bathers and businesses. The discharges were reported by SAS via the Sewage Alert Service.

A Surfers Against Sewage spokesman said thta sewer overflows are used as an emergency discharge to help alleviate storm water and untreated sewage when the system becomes close to bursting. 

However adding that they believe these sewer overflows should only ever be used after extreme rainfall events and the local community are "adamant these sewage discharges are happening far too frequently with unacceptable consequences".

He said: "The clear indication is that there are maintenance problems or other serious deficiencies in the waste water treatment system.  We are also concerned the Environment Agency sampling programme is misleading at Gwithian because they are taken from an area of the beach that avoids the impacts of the Red River and South West Water’s sewage discharges."

A spokesman for South West Water said: "During intense or prolonged rainfall, the UK's combined sewer system, which also takes surface water from roads, can sometimes become overloaded. Combined Sewer Overflows act as a legal safety valve across the UK, helping to protect properties, gardens and public spaces from being flooded. It is generally recognised that to separate the surface and waste water networks completely would be prohibitively expensive and could double bills.

"The process is strictly regulated by the European Union and the Environment Agency. If an overflow occurs we take proactive steps through our voluntary online BeachLive service to alert beach managers so they can act accordingly and help beach users make informed decisions.

"South West Water has spent £2billion to clean up Devon and Cornwall's bathing waters - the biggest environmental programme of its kind in Europe.  Previously raw sewage was routinely discharged into the sea untreated from 40 per cent of homes in the region.  This year we're spending £20million to deliver even cleaner seas at seven locations in Devon and Cornwall.  A further £42 million is planned from 2015 and 2020.  The investment is guided by the Environment Agency, shaped by customer feedback and agreed with Ofwat, the industry's economic regulator.

"Godrevy beach has achieved an Excellent rating for the past 13 years and is expected to achieve an Excellent rating next year under the European Union's revised bathing water directive."