Community Water Quality Officer

£23,000 yearly
  • Surfers Against Sewerage
  • 16 Dec, 2021
Full time Consultant

Job Description

Role: Community Water Quality Officer

Hours: 37.5 per week Monday to Friday

Contract: Permanent

Salary: £23,000

Holiday: 25 days per year plus Bank Holidays

Based: St Agnes, Cornwall

Probationary Period: 3 months

Reports to: Head of Campaigns & Policy


Benefits: An additional 1-day holiday per year accrued after each full year of service, up to 3 years.

Flexitime policy.

Incredible ocean location.


We are Surfers Against Sewage


Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) is one of the UK’s leading ocean conservation and campaigning charities. Our mission is simple: to Create Ocean Activists Everywhere. Our projects and campaigns inspire, unite and empower individuals and communities to take action to protect the ocean, beaches, waves and wildlife.


Our work is focused on the four main themes of water quality, plastic pollution, ocean & climate, and ocean recovery. We connect grass roots ocean actives at the beach front with the front benches of parliaments to create the change we need for planet ocean. We strive to achieve real and lasting impact across all our campaign work and have been at the forefront of driving legislative change to improve water quality, introduce bans on single use plastic, and ensure ocean restoration is enshrined in UK legislation. We founded and run the only marine conservation All Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster – the Ocean Conservation APPG, bringing together a collaborative voice for the ocean in Westminster. 


Our work on water quality is what we are most well known for. Its where we started 30 years ago and is a core part of our DNA. Over the last two years, the charity has led the #EndSewagePollution campaign, driving public and political awareness of the sewage scandal in rivers and seas. Our award-winning Safer Seas & Rivers Service provides the only UK wide real time water quality information service, keeping people safe when surfing, swimming and playing in the water, allowing people to take direct action in calling elected leaders to take action on sewage pollution.


Our Vision: Thriving Ocean, Thriving People

This simple phrase captures everything that matters to us, not just in SAS, but humankind. It’s a mantra, a motto, a rallying cry to drive us on, with a huge collective goal to help tilt our delicate planet back on its axis. This sounds huge, but when you love what you do, and work as one, that future draws ever nearer.





Who we are looking for:


Our recent campaigns and community projects have helped ensure that water quality issues and sewage pollution of our rivers and seas are back at the top of public, political and media attention. Over 3 million hours of sewage polluted our waters in 2020 alone, meaning only 14% of our rivers meet Good Ecological Status and our coastal waters still rank poorly against our European neighbours. The recent boom in wild swimming, stand-up paddle boarding, surfing and other water sports means that more people are now being exposed to polluted waters. We are committed to leading a decade of action to restore our rivers and protect our coastline from sewage pollution, with a focus on delivering more official local Bathing Waters and supporting community groups to achieve this status for popular inland and coastal recreational waters nationwide. We believe that Bathing Water designations and a recognition of how people use water environments throughout the UK can help drive the change needed to clean up unique and precious blue spaces. We are calling for at least 200 ‘bathing rivers’ to be designated nationally by 2030 and will be providing the tools, guidance and support to local groups in their efforts to promote, protect and designate locally important ‘blue wellbeing assets’.


We are seeking an experienced, resilient, enthusiastic, collaborative and confident Community Water Quality Officer to research, plan and coordinate the delivery of this exciting new programme of work. This new role will be responsible for developing a strategy and programme of work to support community groups in applying and achieving official Bathing Water status, particularly focused on rivers. You will build and maintain strong internal and external relationships with colleagues, community groups, stakeholders and partners. To be successful, you will be a strong communicator and relationship builder with experience and knowledge of the Bathing Water designation process and working with community groups. You will also be passionate about the water, with a strong personal commitment to delivering a thriving planet. You will thrive in a dynamic and fast-paced environment, working on delivering nationally important projects.


What you’ll be doing:


  • Develop a strategy to guide SAS’s ‘Bathing River’ designation work.
  • Develop a programme of work to drive ‘Bathing River’ designations.
  • Develop guidance documents and tools to support ‘Bathing River’ applications.
  • Identify community groups looking to active ‘Bathing River’ status.
  • Supporting community groups through the designation application process.
  • Support community groups in gathering evidence and data required following best practice methodologies.
  • Develop positive relationships with community groups.
  • Develop good working relationships with regulators including the Environment Agency and Ofwat.
  • Track ‘bathing river’ applications.
  • Work with the Projects Officer to develop SAS’s programme of citizen science water quality testing work.
  • Support the Projects Officer in developing River Bathing Waters and local profiles into the Safer Seas & Rivers Service.
  • Work with the Campaigns Officer to support community groups in local water quality campaigning
  • Manage the #EndSewagePollution Coalition.
  • Data analysis, interpretation, and reporting.
  • Support our political advocacy work, particularly in relation to water quality.
  • Plan, support and attend key campaign and community events.
  • Update the website, prepare news stories and engage in delivering social media.
  • Support the drafting project and funding proposals.
  • Maintain and develop partnerships with other key groups and stakeholders working in similar areas of work to SAS.
  • Carry out any other duties as are within the scope, spirit and purpose of the post as requested by your line manager or any other member of the SAS team.

Other Duties & Responsibilities

  • Adopt a positive approach to personal and professional development; engaging in one to one meetings and relevant training.
  • UK travel will be required. Training & operational activities may require overnight stays away from Cornwall, in which case standard SAS procedure apply.
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to creating an inclusive, equal and diverse workplace.
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues across SAS to collectively deliver our ethos and mission, vision and aims
  • To be aware of, and act on, relevant health and safety responsibilities as an employee of SAS and adhere to these wherever you are working.
  • To maintain confidentiality in all areas of work at SAS.
  • To be aware of, and act on, relevant governance responsibilities and requirements as an employee of SAS.



What you’ll be able to demonstrate

The position is for an energetic, resilient, dynamic and dedicated officer focused on supporting ‘bathing river’ designations and water quality campaign and advocacy work. The ideal candidate would be an excellent communicator, well organised, and have a good understanding of bathing water designation processes. The person will have a passion to protect the ocean. We are looking for people with the following skills and experience:


  • Proven organisation and project delivery skills, working in a calm, logical way to achieve tasks within a set deadline.
  • Experience in working with, and supporting community groups.
  • Knowledge and understanding of relevant water quality legislation.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the bathing water designation process.
  • Experience in working with environmental regulators.
  • Ability to work independently and take initiative to solve problems.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Experience in website and social media communications.
  • Experience in managing small grant schemes.
  • Exceptional IT literacy.
  • Ability to juggle multiple projects and deadline at the same time.
  • Ability to work flexible hours as necessary.
  • Ability to work as part of a team.
  • Enthusiastic and creative.
  • Inspired by and supports SAS’s mission and vision.
  • A great communicator who gets a buzz out of connecting people and getting things done.
  • Full clean UK driving licence.
  • Adopt a positive approach to personal and professional development.


How to apply

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter explaining why you want the role, how your skills and experience meet the requirements and what you can bring to the team to


Closing Date: 23:00 on 9th January 2022

Interview Date: Interviews expected to be held during the week commencing 24th January 2022 either via video call or in person (depending on COVID_19 restrictions).


Surfers Against Sewage values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.