Southern Water has been accused of being the water company in the UK most offended over alleged illegal “dry spills”.
According to the campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), a “dry spill” is when sewage is discharged without it having rained.
In stormy weather, rain can overwhelm combined sewage and drainage systems that are in place across Sussex.
In these circumstances, Southern Water said it is releasing storm overflows “to protect homes, schools and businesses from flooding.”
Southern Water has previously said these runoffs are highly diluted and are typically 95 percent rainwater.
But in a new report, SAS said Southern Water may have been guilty of illegal “dry pollution”.
The report analyzed sewage discharge warnings and meteorological data, and SAS says it shows discharges occurred at least 146 times when no rain was recorded.
SAS said this is despite regulations stipulating that discharges should only take place during “unusually heavy rainfall”.
According to research by the campaign group, Southern Water was responsible for four times as many ‘dry accidents’ than the next company, South West Water.
Southern Water has hit back at the claims, saying SAS refused to share the full report with it before publication.
It says so-called “dry spills” are permissible where pressurized groundwater has been forced into pipes and overflows are required to prevent flooding, or where the water is taking longer to complete due to the size and complexity of the area drained by the sewer and sewer , to arrive network itself.
“Over the last year the British public has expressed disgust at what is happening to our rivers and seas, yet water companies pollute at will,” said Amy Slack, SAS campaigns and policy director.
“It is particularly alarming to uncover evidence of potentially illegal activities by water companies in the form of ‘dry runs’ that are not permitted under current regulations.
“Shareholders and CEOs shamelessly profit from pollution.”
A Southern Water spokesman told The Argus: “Storm outbreaks, which go a long way in reducing the impact of the type of flooding we’ve seen recently and are permitted by the Environment Agency, are down nearly 50 this year by comparison Percent declined to last, partly due to a dry summer.
“We are investing £2 billion to improve environmental performance and further reduce their consumption by increasing storage capacity and working with partners to reduce stormwater runoff entering the system.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/23145666.southern-water-hits-back-claims-dumped-sewage-illegally/?ref=rss Southern Water has denied claims it illegally dumped sewage