Pollution has affected 'whole of Adur’s coastline' - Council demands answers

A waste leak, which has affected the 'whole of Adur’s coastline', has been described as ‘unacceptable’.
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Beachgoers in Adur and Worthing have been told to avoid the water after waste was spilled into the sea last night (Tuesday, January 9). Waste is expected to remain in the area’s coastal waters ‘until around 11am’ on Thursday (January 11).

Southern Water explained that the leak came after two pumps failed at its Shoreham Wastewater Treatment Works ‘due to an electrical fault’.

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"This triggered the use of our emergency outfall, 500 metres out into Shoreham Harbour,” a spokesperson said. "Releases were screened but not fully treated.”

The River Adur, Shoreham-by-Sea. (Derek Martin/Sussex World)The River Adur, Shoreham-by-Sea. (Derek Martin/Sussex World)
The River Adur, Shoreham-by-Sea. (Derek Martin/Sussex World)

Emma Evans, Adur’s cabinet member for the environment and leisure, said the councils are now ‘demanding answers’ from Southern Water as well as ‘assurances that this will not happen again’.

Councillor Evans added: “It’s deeply concerning that another leak has occurred in the area which could put our residents, visitors and animals at risk.”

Vicki Wells, Worthing’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “I would like to know what caused the electrical issues at the Shoreham wastewater treatment works and expect assurances that they are being addressed urgently.

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"I expect wastewater infrastructure to be robust – our communities and environment shouldn’t suffer as a consequence of ailing equipment. It’s unacceptable for the area’s coastline to be polluted by releases of sewage because pumps have failed.”

Southern Water said its teams ‘worked hard through the night’ to install a temporary pump, which is releasing flows ‘further out to sea via our long sea outfall’.

A spokesperson added: “We also we have four tankers transferring flows to a nearby treatment works.

"We are working with the Environment Agency and Adur District Council, and are carrying out investigations on environmental impact. We are very sorry that this is happening and are doing everything we can to fix the issue and minimise impact."

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The Environment Agency has been informed about the leak, Adur and Worthing Councils said.

"Late last night, the water company reported to the councils that one of its outfall pipes was leaking waste off the coast,” a councils statement read.

"The pollution is believed to affect the whole of Adur’s coastline from Lancing to Fishersgate, including the River Adur, and potentially Worthing.

"The councils are urging visitors to the area’s coastline not to go into the water at this time and to take care on the beach in case waste has been washed ashore.

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"Southern Water stated it had used four tankers to relieve the pressure on our sewer network and reduce the amount of wastewater being released. It added that this action prevented homes and businesses from flooding.”