Sewage discharge into Chichester Harbour ‘a damned disgrace’

From left, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts, Portsmouth City Council leader Donna Jones, and Isle of Wight Council leader Jonathan Bacon sign the formal application for a Solent Combined Authority in 2016

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THE discharge of sewage into the River Lavant and Chichester Harbour has been blasted as a ‘damned disgrace’.

County councillor for Chichester North, Mike Hall, criticised Southern Water for releasing the sewage into the River Lavant at Singleton because the systems in place could not cope with the extra rainfall.

The outburst came after Chichester Harbour Conservancy’s annual meeting last Friday, where it was disclosed sewage was pumped into the harbour on more than 20 days because the sewage treatment works in Apuldram had become overloaded.

‘It is time someone stood up and said the system here is just too weak for us to cope with,’ said Cllr Hall.

‘People have got to recognise they can’t keep developing here without the infrastructure to support it. It’s a damned disgrace. In this day and age we should not be discharging raw sewage into the River Lavant. Children and dogs play in that area.’

Cllr Hall also warned this problem will happen time and time again unless the sewage system is changed. Southern Water discharged the sewage into River Lavant after liaising with the Environment Agency.

A Southern Water spokeswoman said: ‘We’ve recently experienced one of the wettest periods in history and the sewers in the Singleton area had reached maximum levels.

‘To prevent the sewers from becoming overloaded, causing flooding to homes and gardens, we used tankers to transport excess stormwater to our treatment works in Chichester.’

Environment Agency spokesman Rod Pearson said: ‘The underlying fact is this is not having a detrimental effect on the water course.’