Eastbourne MP says Southern Water has concerns about builders wrongly connecting sewage pipes to rainwater pipes

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has met with a senior Southern Water official and local sea swimmers to discuss water quality following a new research.
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The new study shows that pipe misconnections by builders are a major source of pollution, according to the MP.

Mrs Ansell invited Southern Water’s director of environment and corporate affairs Toby Willison to meet Eastbourne sea swimmers on Saturday, April 1.

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The MP said: “He went into the sea with them in bracing conditions. The group discussed some of the issues and Toby explained 64 per cent of spills take place because of surface runoff water overwhelming the system.

Caroline Ansell with and Southern Water’s director of environment and corporate affairs Toby WillisonCaroline Ansell with and Southern Water’s director of environment and corporate affairs Toby Willison
Caroline Ansell with and Southern Water’s director of environment and corporate affairs Toby Willison

“The utility is working with the local authority to address this but he also expressed concern about builders wrongly connecting sewage pipes to rainwater pipes which meant raw sewerage was then discharged.

“The correct connection of pipes is a matter for Eastbourne Borough Council’s (EBC) building control.”

Southern Water said that rapid action is being taken around a surface runoff pipe in Granville Road, according to Mrs Ansell.

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The MP, who explained that Mr Willison said the local water quality is better now than 10 years ago, added that surveys will conclude at the end of the month and then the company will move to fix the issue.

Mrs Ansell said: “This was a positive meeting where I hope the swimmers really got a good idea of some of the issues and challenges we all face to ensure our seawater quality improves.

“A huge amount of work is taking place around storm overflows and the government’s Blue Heart project led by East Sussex County Council [is] to better understand how we can manage surface water in Eastbourne. We all want to see better water quality as soon as possible.

“However, the latest challenge is misconnections by builders of sewage pipes into rainwater pipes. I urge the borough council - as it leads on building control - to work closely with Southern Water to ensure these do not happen.

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“All these actions will lead to improvements but it is important to explain this cannot be done overnight. If we were to ban the use of storm overflows tomorrow then sewage would be in our homes, gardens, schools and hospitals."

EBC said: “We do not lead on building control services. Building control services are operated by Wealden District Council and accessed by EBC through the East Sussex Building Control Partnership.

“Building control only approve connections to the Southern Water network with the consent of Southern Water. It is illegal to connect to the network without the consent of Southern Water.”

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