Eastbourne’s MP is meeting with the boss of Southern Water over the “distressing” incident which saw gallons of raw sewage flow into the sea for more than 10 hours.
A major powercut at the treatment works in Langney Point caused untreated waste to be released into the waters off Eastbourne seafront on Saturday, July 27.
Stephen Lloyd said the incident caused “significant distress” to residents and visitors on the hot summer day, and says he is meeting CEO Ian McAulay to “get to the truth” of how it could have happened.
He said, “The incident at the Eastbourne Water Treatment Works caused significant distress for a large number of residents and visitors on a warm, summer weekend. Many of whom contacted me which is why I took prompt action.”
“Southern Water’s CEO claims their management equipment detected only ‘very low’ levels of odour. This is in stark contrast to the many reports I received from constituents complaining to me about the stench surrounding the Water Treatment Works on the afternoon of the 27th July.
“I will raise this discrepancy, and many others, with the CEO, Mr McAulay, when we have our face to face meeting after they’ve completed their investigation into the incident. It’s important we get to the truth and its imperative precautionary steps are taken”
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 confirmed “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 at the time, “We are continuing to investigate the cause of a total power failure at our Eastbourne treatment works 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.