Beach users have been advised not to enter the sea or the area of beach below the high water mark today at several places along the Kent coast.
Swimmers have been told they should not enter the water at Botany Bay, Joss Bay or Viking Bay all in the Broadstairs area. According to Southern Water’s Beach Buoy webpage Fulsam Rock and Walpole Bay in Margate are also affected.
The warning has been issued following Southern Water announcing an unscreened wastewater release into the sea. It is thought that the high rainfall last night has contributed to a large overflow of sewage.
In June this year, beachgoers were advised to stay out of the water at 11 Thanet beaches and bays following a wastewater release at the Southern Water Foreness Wastewater Pumping Station overnight June 16/17 due to a lightning strike and heavy rainfall. People were advised to stay out of the sea for 6 days.
In July this year, Southern Water was fined a record £90million for illegally dumping raw sewage into the sea. It appears that the company are once again dumping sewage into our seas.
Last month Southern Water agreed to commission a full drainage survey of Margate and the surrounding areas in order to improve resilience of Foreness Point pumping station. The survey, estimated to come at a cost of some £400,000, will record all of the water pathways that contribute surface water and rain water to the drainage system. It will also assess the amount of water which is added to the system during storm periods.
council bosses have cALLED the situation an “environmental and financial disaster“
Untreated sewage is normally screened and passed through storage tanks before it is dumped. Discharge permits issued by the Environment Agency specify the level of sewage each works has to treat before it can dump untreated sewage.
Thanet Council are currently awaiting further information from Southern Water and are working with the Environment Agency (South East) to understand the impact of todays incident.