Council to demand answers and action from Southern Water over sewage discharges

Released: Friday, 19 August 2022

Adur District Council is demanding urgent action from Southern Water after untreated sewage and wastewater was dumped in the sea this week.

After heavy rain began to fall in West Sussex on Tuesday, sewage was discharged into the sea from outfall pipes at Southwick, Beach Green at Lancing and Shoreham Beach, areas designated by the government as bathing waters.

These bathing waters are publicised for residents and visitors to enjoy, and the Environment Agency has plans in place to monitor and protect water quality there. The water quality at Lancing is rated as good, and at Southwick and Shoreham Beach it is rated as excellent - the highest standard available.

However data published by Southern Water reveals it discharged sewage into the sea at all three locations after this week’s heavy rain.

The Safer Seas and Rivers Service - run by the charity Surfers Against Sewage - subsequently issued pollution alerts for all three locations, warning that they were potentially harmful to water users.

The Council is now demanding an explanation from Southern Water as to why pollution was allowed to be discharged into the sea. It is also contacting the Environment Agency and wants reassurances that Southern Water will prevent similar incidents by investing further in infrastructure and technology.

Cllr Emma Evans, Adur’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Leisure, said:

“It is totally unacceptable that any sewage should be discharged into the sea in Adur, no matter the weather conditions.

“Residents and visitors should be able to take a dip, get on a paddle board or just paddle without having to check that pollution hasn’t been dumped into the water.

“We will be writing to Southern Water to ask for a meeting as a priority to find out what action the company will be taking to prevent this happening again.”

Under questioning from Adur & Worthing councillors in January, Southern Water vowed to clean up its act by agreeing to explore a series of measures to cut down on its dumping of raw sewage into the sea and rivers.

Photo: Lancing beach was one of those affected by the pollution

PR22-154 - Lancing Beach

(PR22-154)

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Page last updated: 05 October 2022

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