Sewage pipe leaks off Eastbourne

No Caption ABCDE SUS-141012-105902003
No Caption ABCDE SUS-141012-105902003

A leak occurred in a sewage pipe off the Eastbourne coast last week prompting warnings that bathing water could be contaminated.

Southern Water, responsible for sewage and treating it, reported damage to the long sea outfall at Eastbourne last Friday.

It was fixed on Saturday and Environment Agency officials said although sewage was discharged via an alternative outfall, the leak may have affected the quality of the bathing water at both Eastbourne and Pevensey Bay.

A spokesperson at Southern Water said, “Treated wastewater from the Eastbourne area is normally released more than three kilometres out to sea through a long-sea outfall pipe.

“However, a fault with the long-sea outfall, which we became aware of on Friday, meant we were unable to release treated flows the normal way.

“To prevent the sewer network backing up and flooding homes and businesses, screened flows were instead released half a mile out to sea, via our stormwater outfall.

“As well as preventing flooding, this also meant our customers could continue to use their washing machines, dishwashers, showers and toilets.

“The repair was complex and specialist engineers worked round the clock to complete it.

“By Sunday morning, half of the flows were undergoing normal, full treatment. The full repair was made later that day.

“We were in close contact with the Environment Agency and Eastbourne Borough Council throughout.”

The news was revealed by the Environment Agency which also carried out tests earlier this month and said the quality of bathing water in Eastbourne was unacceptable.

Weekly samples are taken at the town’s bathing water site during the May–September season and a sample was taken on May 8 by the Environment Agency which was flagged up as not being acceptable but is not thought to be connected with the damage to the sewage pipe.

It is not the first time Eastbourne’s beaches have been hit with contamination.

A leaking sewer caused high levels of contamination around Eastbourne Pier and was sealed in 2000.

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