Raw sewage was allowed to flow in to the sea off Eastbourne for 10 hours at the weekend after a major power failure at the treatment works.
The alarm was raised on Saturday morning (July 27) at the Wastewater Treatment Works at Langney Point – run by Southern Water.
Emergency generators were brought in and UK Power Networks contractors arrived to investigate the cause of the failure and fix the problem. But until power was restored, wastewater flowed through medium and short sea outfalls.
The Environment Agency said this week that “untreated sewage was allowed to flow into the sea for around 10 hours on Saturday, west of Sovereign Harbour”.
Swimmers were advised not to swim in the sea due to sewage pollution as the authorities took samples to monitor water quality,
Southern Water’s treatment works, known locally as Poo Castle, treats wastewater from 115,000 people living and working locally.
The company has apologised and a spokesperson said, “We are continuing to investigate the cause of a total power failure at our Eastbourne treatment works on Saturday which resulted in untreated wastewater being released via our sea outfall. Although the site is operating normally, we are keeping spare generators until we completely understand what caused power to cut out.
“The power failure was unforeseeable but no spill is acceptable to our customers or to us. Our teams worked around the clock and in very difficult conditions to restore the site on Saturday afternoon - no untreated wastewater has been released since then. We apologise and thank everyone for their patience.”
The Environment Agency said it is investigating the pollution on Eastbourne beach.