A HEALTH warning has today (Wednesday, August 27) gone out to beach-goers in Littlehampton after an emergency situation is forcing Southern Water to pump sewerage into the town’s sea.
Southern Water has taken a decision to release sewerage water 100m off the coast of Littlehampton in an effort to protect resident’s homes from flooding.
The move comes after a fault was discovered at the water company’s Sea Road pumping station.
A spokesman for Southern Water said: “Wastewater would normally flow into the station and then be pumped away for treatment.
“However, a sheared bolt on an underground valve is preventing the wastewater going through the works and this risks the sewer system backing up and causing flooding in the town.
“To prevent this happening, and to ensure customers can continue to use their toilets, washing machines and showers, we are releasing these flows through an outfall 100 metres out to sea.”
He added: “We have crews on site setting up a temporary pumping station to bypass the damaged valve and allow flows to be transferred to the treatment works as normal while the valve is repaired.
“We also have other staff on the beach to clear up if any debris washes back to the shore.”
Littlehampton’s Harbour Master Billy Johnson has since warned people not to swim in the sea for the next 48 hours.
He said: “Members of the public should be aware that the effect on water quality in the River Arun and bathing beaches to east and west of Littlehampton represents a public health hazard. Swimming, diving and bathing in the harbour should not be conducted for the next 48 hours.”
However, a Southern Water spokesman explained that, although this wastewater – which is termed as sewerage – is being pumped out to sea, 97 per cent of that liquid was just water.
“Most of it is made up of wastewater from kitchen sinks, showers and baths which has not yet been treated,” he added.
Littlehampton’s beach was this year presented the prestigious Blue Flag award for its generally cleanliness standards.
For more information on bathing water quality in Littlehampton, contact Arun District Council.
Updates to follow.