Nearly 2,500 hours of waste water pumped into coast off Bognor Regis so far this year
The water, which is discharged into the sea from a range of outfalls across the coast, was released into the sea for a grand total of 2,452 hours, according to data leveraged from Southern Water’s live-update app Beachbuoy.
That number represents the sum total of some 332 releases throughout the area, ranging in length from two minutes to 692 hours – long enough to watch the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy almost 74 and a half times.
That particular release – easily the most significant of the year so far – started on New Year’s Day and lasted the whole of January, but other similarly significant releases took place throughout Spring and Summer, including one lasting from March 23 to April 07 for a grand total of 329 hours.
Although they come from a variety of outfalls in West Park, South Bersted and beyond, the releases described here are listed on Beachbuoy as having impacted The Bognor Regis East bathing site. A similar number of releases were recorded as having impacted Felpham and Aldwick.
The statistics come after months of controversy for Southern Water, which has been under fire for discharging sewage into the sea across its catchment area. Responding to the criticism, Southern Water has launched a number of programmes designed to change the way it manages sewage. Earlier this year, the company greenlit an ambitious turnaround plan which involves upskilling employees and digitalising the network at large in order to improve its track record by 2050.
When, earlier this year, a Greenpeace investigation revealed that 300,000 hours of wastewater was released into sensitive wildlife areas around the UK, Nick Mills, Head of Southern Water’s Clean Rivers and Seas Task Force said: “We share our communities’ passion for the environment and we work very closely with the Environment Agency, who assess outfalls for environmental risk potential, and we ensure our stormwater outfalls comply with strict permits and are located and managed appropriately.
“These stormwater outfalls are used when the system is overloaded with surface and groundwater, so homes, schools, hospitals, and communities are not flooded. Furthermore, such discharges are heavily diluted with rainwater.”