Councils criticize video of sewage being pumped into sea off Sussex

SUSSEX councils have condemned Southern Water after a “shocking” video showed raw sewage being pumped into the sea.

The video, which was filmed by Martyn Craddock near Splash Point in Seaford, was described as a “new low” by councilor Matthew Bird, cabinet member for sustainability at Lewes District Council.

Seaford Town Clerk Adam Chugg said he was “stunned and saddened” when he saw the footage of sanitation yards from busy beaches.

It comes after The Argus reported on Tuesday that pollution warnings have been issued at 13 beaches in the county following heavy rains.

A spokesman for environmental campaigning group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) said the warnings underscore “the real threat to human health posed by chronic underinvestment in our water and sanitation infrastructure for the benefit of £54bn in dividend payments”.

Southern Water said dry ground is causing more than usual surface runoff due to the recent hot weather, leading to flooding.

Cllr Bird said: “To see this sewage entering our seas, especially at times when many swimmers are in the water, is really shocking and discouraging.

“Discharges should only occur after storm events and only because our water infrastructure is not fit for purpose.

“Like hundreds of other residents in the district, I swim regularly at Seaford and it is simply wrong that due to a lack of investment from Southern Water we should gamble with our health.

“Even by the woefully poor standards that Southern Water is notorious for, this is a new low.”

The Argus: Sewage flowing towards Seaford Head, picturedSewage flowed towards Seaford Head, pictured

Adam Chugg added: “Seaford Bay is an iconic part of the city and is regularly used by residents and visitors alike.

“Seaford City Council does not believe it is acceptable to endanger public health in this way.

“We were delighted to be part of a Channel 4 news report on the incident, which aired on Thursday evening to highlight these points.

“We are also raising this matter with Southern Water.”

The Interactive Argus: SAS MapInteractive SAS card

A spokeswoman for Southern Water said on Wednesday: “Yesterday’s thunderstorms brought heavy rain that fell on parched ground and failed to absorb surface runoff, meaning more rain than usual overwhelmed our network.

“This resulted in some spillways – used to protect homes, schools, shops and hospitals from flooding – leaking excess water into the sea in parts of Sussex, including Seaford.

The Argus: Taken from Martyn Craddock's footage at SeafordTaken from Martyn Craddock’s footage at Seaford

“These runoffs are highly diluted and typically consist of 95 percent rainwater.

“We have ambitious goals to significantly reduce storm flooding across our region by 2030 and have established our Storm Overflow Task Force to test innovative and collaborative ideas through Pathfinder projects. What we learn from these projects will help us shape our plans for the next investment period.” Councils criticize video of sewage being pumped into sea off Sussex

Fry Electronics Team

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