Chichester’s oyster port has been hit by raw sewage

WATERS near a historic oyster fishery have been polluted by raw sewage for thousands of hours.

Chichester Harbor has been teeming with oysters for centuries, but in 2021, sewage was pumped into the water from an overflow point for 4,996 hours.

In the most recent incident on August 17, a 42-minute overflow spilled into the port.

Southern Water is under fire after shocking video showed a spill at Seaford last Thursday spewing sewage into the sea.

Sewage was also dumped into the sea at 12 other locations in Sussex earlier in the week.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has said shellfish are the “forgotten victims” of sea effluent.

The Argus: Part of Chichester HarbourPart of Chichester Harbour

“England’s prized shellfish, our prawns, langoustines, lobsters and crabs, are the forgotten victims of this environmental scandal,” Mr Farron said.

“Over the past week we have seen our beaches closed because of these polluting water companies. Meanwhile, they rake in billions of dollars in profits and pay staggering bonuses to their CEOs. To be honest, the whole thing stinks.”

National waters containing shellfish were dumped nearly 29,000 times last year, with the longest event lasting 5,000 hours.

Southern Water was reportedly among the worst-performing utilities last year.

David Jarrad, chief executive of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain, said sewage being pumped into the sea could lead to a “lack of confidence in consumer consumption of shellfish” and “the short-term closure of areas growing oysters, mussels, mussels may be harvested”.

Mr Jarrad told the PA news agency: “The way we classify our waters on the UK coast you only have to have two bad readings a year and you will be downgraded for 12 months the following year.

The Argus: Oysters have been farmed in Chichester Harbor for hundreds of yearsOysters have been farmed in Chichester Harbor for hundreds of years

“Today’s pollution events could impact sales of this product in 2023.”

But Southern Water said it was permitted by the Environment Agency to activate storm clearances to “protect homes, schools and hospitals from flooding.”

A spokesman said: “Southern Water is investing heavily in protecting the environment and we are leading the industry with our pioneering approach to reducing dependency on this system.

The Argus: sewage in the sea at Seaford. Photo from a video by Martyn Craddock.Sewage in the sea at Seaford. Photo from a video by Martyn Craddock.

“Our Stormwater Taskforce is running five Pathfinder projects that combine Southern Water Engineering with nature-based solutions and work in partnership.”

The Environment Agency regularly tests and samples water quality on shellfish beds and informs fisheries when and how to harvest.

The Liberal Democrats also claimed that monitors measuring the amount of sewage pumped into the sea were installed incorrectly or not at all.

Analyzing data from the Environment Agency, the party said water companies are not monitoring discharges of water along the coast, including Sussex’s seaside resorts.

Mr Farron called it a “national scandal” and said: “These water companies may have been guilty of gross negligence by failing to install wastewater monitors.”

Chichester Borough Council and the Environment Agency have been asked to comment.

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20715881.chichester-oyster-harbour-hit-raw-sewage/?ref=rss Chichester’s oyster port has been hit by raw sewage

Fry Electronics Team

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