Southern Water has been making emergency repairs after a sewer burst for the third time in as many months on the West Beach residential estate.
Tankers were brought in on Sunday morning ‘to protect the environment’ and manage flows so people can use their facilities as normal ahead of the emergency repairs, which began this week. Click here to see more pictures
“We’re sorry if the one-way traffic management on the Brighton Road is causing any disruption but this will remain in place during the week to keep people safe while we line a section of sewer to make future bursts less likely,” a Southern Water spokesperson said.
Geoff Patmore, the vice-chairman of the West Beach Residents’ Association, said the level of fear was ‘enormous’ among residents, adding: “We are utterly frustrated.
“This regular flooding and stinking sewage creates massive anxiety. You don’t want it in your house but it’s out of your control.
“All we need is a massive downpour and a sewage burst, and it would be hell on earth. It is getting there already.
“There’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and smelling the sweet smell of sewage.
“We think, as residents, the whole sewage line needs replacing. It is just not fit for purpose now.”
Southern said it was ‘glad that no homes or property had been affected’.
Its social post on Sunday read: “We are already preparing to put a special polymer lining in a stretch of sewer nearby to make the network tougher with work starting on Monday.
“More work to prevent future bursts in the area is being planned and we’ll keep people informed.”
A Southern Water spokesman told the Herald that work began on Monday to re-line around 220 metres of sewer, which engineers hope to complete ‘as quickly as possible’.
A spokesman said: “We have tankers there as we’ve had to switch off the line. People still need their showers, dishwashers and toilets. We will be making a repair where the latest burst was. That’s got to be the priority but we are also looking at a much larger scheme in the area.
“If you replace one bit of pipe with a plastic bit of poly pipe, you are moving the weakness along.
“It’s obvious more needs to be done so we are investigating how we can do this whilst causing minimal disruption.
“We will have customer teams there all week to talk to people, so they understand what’s going on.”
West Beach residents took to Facebook to share their frustrations in the aftermath of the incident over the weekend.
The smell was described by some as ‘nauseating’, with residents ‘kept awake all night’ by the tankers working outside.
“The whole estate is affected,” wrote one home-owner. “It’s terrible. I feel for elderly residents that don’t drive. How are they supposed to get to the shops?”
Another resident said ‘you can’t walk off the estate without paddling’, whilst a third comment read: “Driving onto the estate looks like a scene from a disaster movie!”