Southern Water apologises after fault sees raw sewage leak into river and Southwick Park lake

SOUTHERN Water has apologised after a fault at a pumping station saw raw sewage being spewed into a river and lake.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 8:03 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th August 2020, 9:41 am
Southwick Park Lake pictured before the sewage leak. Photo: Liam Nash Photography

Emergency workers from the water company alongside officers from the Environment Agency (EA) are carrying out a clean-up operation at Southwick Park following Sunday’s spill.

The environmental disaster was caused by a faulty pumping station, which allowed raw sewage to leak into the River Wallington.

It’s believed the error saw about 1,500 cubic metres of raw effluent spew out.

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The situation prompted the closure of Southwick Park’s lake amid fears contaminated water had reached it.

There are now concerns fish and other wildlife could be affected by the leak.

Portsmouth and District Angling Society has warned its members the lake would be ‘closed until further notice’.

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In a statement released on the group’s Facebook page, association chairman Stephen Mardlin said: ‘There has been a large raw human sewage release of circa 1500 cubic metres into the river at Purbrook and significant fish kill in the river.

‘Traces of the sewage are in the lake and some fish are showing signs of distress. With raw human sewage in the water there is clearly also some risk of infection if anglers are contaminated.

‘Southern Water and the EA site controllers are at the lake pumping oxygen and doing hourly water sampling. The EA are actively engaged with Southern Water to trap the bulk of the sewage before it reaches the lake.’

Southern Water has apologised for the leak and insisted it was working to ‘restore the local environment’ following the spill.

A spokesman added: ‘We’re very sorry that a fault at the Westbrook Grove Purbrook water pumping station caused a wastewater release on Sunday, resulting in some effluent entering a stream and Southwick Park Lake.

‘No pollution is acceptable to us. We’re working closely with the Environment Agency to undertake rigorous sampling of both the stream and lake and are now working quickly to restore the local environment.’

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