AN INVESTMENT of £85,000 has been pumped into a treatment centre which was forced to dump sewage into the sea off Littlehampton’s award-winning beach last year.
In August, an emergency situation arose at the Southern Water pumping station, in Sea Road.
A fault at the facility threatened to back up the town’s sewer system and cause flooding to a number of residents.
So the water company was forced to expel untreated waste water into the sea off the town’s award-winning Blue Flag beach, causing a health alert to be issued warning beach-goers to avoid the coastal waters.
Now, Southern Water has spent £85,000 to improve the resilience of the site to try to prevent such problems happening in the future.
The company has replaced two large valves – each of which weighs a ton and is housed four metres underground.
Southern Water’s field performance manager Neil Hawkes said: “These new valves are more reliable than the ones they have replaced and will help reduce the risk of further problems at the site.
“It has been a tricky job, replacing such large pieces of kit in a confined space, and the rain that arrived just as we started certainly didn’t help.”
The pumping station, next to Inspire Littlehampton’s leisure centre on the seafront, receives flows from 60,000 homes across the area including Littlehampton, Rustington, East Preston and Ferring.
It pumps these flows to Ford Wastewater Treatment Works to be cleaned.
While the work was under way, temporary pumps diverted the wastewater around the valves.
The new valves, which control the flow of wastewater into the station, will be more reliable than those they have replaced – one of which caused problems last year.
It happened when a nut broke on one of the valves, preventing wastewater from passing through the station.
The valves were installed last week and will be brought on-line this week.
The work was carried out by Mid-Kent Electrical and Invicta Valves.
Southern Water remains under investigation by the Environment Agency, which is trying to establish whether or not any laws were broken following last year’s incident.