Southern Water explains 250 hour sewage release in Felpham
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A Southern Water spokesperson has spoken out following a nearly 250 hour sewage release in Felpham this week. The releases started at the Lidsey outfall last Monday (April 10), and continued until 1pm this afternoon (April 20). All in all, the discharge took place for 247.7 hours.
The spokesperson said the release took place due to ground water infiltration, which they said is a ‘known issue’ teams are working to address. Groundwater Infiltration releases often take place sometime after rainfall events because water enters the combined sewers through the ground. Since it takes time to flush this water through the system, these releases are often disproportionately long, and consist of up to 95 per cent rainwater.
The spokesperson went on to explain that heavy rainfall puts pressure on the sewer network, and storm releases like this are authorised by the Environment Agency to protect homes, schools and businesses from flooding.
"We agree with our customers that this is not acceptable,” they added. “This is why we have made reducing storm overflows our biggest priority, and we are already leading the water industry in exploring innovative engineering and nature-based solutions to how we can separate surface and groundwater from our network.
“We are already running six Pathfinder Projects, bringing together multiple partner agencies, to remove or ‘slow the flow’ of water getting into our sewers. By testing new approaches and concepts we can demonstrate that effective interventions can be delivered by working closely with community groups and local authorities. For example, on the Isle of Wight we have seen a significant reduction in storm overflows following the rollout of water butts in customers’ gardens, we are introducing sustainable drainage systems into schools and setting up wetlands projects. Longer term, we have recently submitted a programme to the Environment Agency to spend up to £1billion to cut storm overflows across rivers and the coast. This will start in 2025, focusing on beaches, areas with shellfish and other environmentally sensitive areas, In addition we are accelerating investment into next 2 years to kick start this programme.”