A spokesperson for the water management company attributed the decision to “issues with pumps at our Ford wastewater treatment works.”
The spokesperson went on to say that the company attempted to fix the pumps “as quickly as possible” once they discovered the error and explained that, during this time, waste water tanks were used and filled.
“These tanks are a measure to prevent homes and businesses from flooding,” the spokesperson said.
Once the tanks were full, an emergency release of waste water took place 2.8km out at sea.
“Unfortunately faults do develop from time to time and we’re sorry that on this occasion this led to an emergency release,” the spokesperson said.
“When these events happen, our priority is to respond swiftly to protect our services to our customers and minimise the impact to the environment.”
The release follows concerns expressed by residents regarding the quality of bathing water in Bognor Regis when ‘black sludge’ was spotted on beaches in Pagham, Elmer, Aldwick and Bognor in July, following a number of storm releases authorised by Southern Water.
This time, however, the company has said the releases should not pose any risk to Bognor’s water.
“We have notified the Environment Agency as part of our commitment to openness and transparency about incidents in this region. The Environment Agency pollution forecast did not identify a risk to bathing water in Bognor linked to this incident,” a spokesperson said.
Alongside the ‘black sludge’ concerns, Sunday’s release comes after government advice to water companies regarding the disposal of raw sewage was described as a ‘final nail in the coffin’ by the Chichester Harbour Trust earlier this month.