Nick Gibb tackles waste water eruptions in Felpham

Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, met with Southern Water and County Council bosses to discuss the ongoing issue of wastewater eruptions in Felpham.

The problems centre largely around a manhole cover at the eastern end of Limmer Lane in Felpham. Residents have complained of an ongoing issue in which waste water periodically erupts from the cover.

To tackle the issue, Mr Gibb met with senior officers from Arun District Council, County Council and Southern Water, as well as a number of local residents.

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The meeting, which took place on May 6, is just one in a long string of talks with Southern Water executives and County Council bosses to tackle local storm overflows, which damage sea water quality and increase the risk of foul water leakages.

Neil Chisman, Nick Gibb and John Hall at the eastern end of Limmer Lane examining the manhole into the foul water system.

Together, the group discussed proposals to restrict the infiltration of rain water and ground water into the waste water system, which is one of the principal reasons for sewage system overflows during periods of heavy rain.

Improvements to the water drainage system, including improved pumping machinery and better pipe connections, were also discussed.

A second meeting, with Ian McAuley, the chief executive officer of Southern Water, to discuss the company’s commitment to reducing storm overflows by 80 per cent by 2030.

“We are all hugely concerned about the sewerage system being overwhelmed and resulting in leakages into the streets; or storm overflow discharges from the Lydsey Sewerage Plant into the Lydsey Rife,” Mr Gibb said.

"This ultimately then flows into the sea at Felpham. This is totally unacceptable.

“The meetings and site visits I have been arranging over the last few months are designed to find constructive solutions to these problems. On Friday, together with officers from Arun and West Sussex and a senior engineer from Southern Water, we looked in detail at how surface water drains in the area and how the foul water system takes waste water to the treatment plant.

“We need further improvements to the surface water drainage system as well as major investment by Southern Water, upgrading the sewerage system to reflect significant house building in recent years.”

“It was a pleasure to meet with Nick once again and to highlight progress being made towards the ambition to reduce storm overflows and pollution incidents by 80%,” Mr Macauley added.

"A great example was the launch in October 2021 of a dedicated Storm Overflows Taskforce to spearhead our work in this area. The Taskforce has already made great strides, and are working on a number of groundbreaking Pathfinder projects which take an innovative and holistic approach to management of all water flows and systems in catchments.

“A common finding emerging from the work is that by reducing the high volumes of surface and rainwater which currently are allowed to enter combined sewerage systems, we have the most cost efficient and environmentally effective way of reducing overflows and managing flooding.”

“ The ambitions and desired outcomes are shared by all; less flooding incidents, fewer storm overflow spills, reduced carbon footprints, more nature based solutions alongside hard infrastructure and healthier rivers and seas for all. However it is crucial that we work collaboratively to deliver these outcomes, as they cannot be managed by any one party on their own."

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