Anger over raw sewage being pumped into sea

L-R Tony Dickson and Bob Evans of the Eastney Cruising Association who are concerned about sewage being released into the harbour''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (142268-1)
L-R Tony Dickson and Bob Evans of the Eastney Cruising Association who are concerned about sewage being released into the harbour''''Picture: Paul Jacobs (142268-1)
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RAW sewage being pumped into the sea has been condemned by a sailing club.

Officials at Eastney Cruising Association are fed up with seeing toilet items strewn across the shores of Langstone Harbour and even on to the beach at Eastney.

With dozens of youngsters set to swim across the mouth of the harbour this weekend, they want to get the water tested by the Environment Agency to see if it is clean enough.

The complaint is the latest in a long-running saga with Southern Water, which has been discharging unscreened sewage from Fort Cumberland pumping station for several years and has been fined for the pollution.

Bob Evans, sailing secretary at the club, off Ferry Road, said there were sewage items regularly stuck to the sides of the boats when they return to the club.

‘You pull up a fishing line and it comes up with a load of toilet paper,’ he said.

‘In the 21st century in Britain, it’s not on.’

He added: ‘None of us want to see the city flooded – we are reasonable people.

‘Now and again, we can understand they have to discharge.

‘But if you look at the Langstone Harbour Board website, for 2014, there’s almost 60 to 80 entries. It’s unfiltered sewage.’

Tony Dickson, treasurer at the club, said: ‘My concern is they should be informing the general public.

‘My wife swims down there with my nieces. There should be notifications on the beach when the water quality is not as good as it should be and it should be paid for by Southern Water.’

He added: ‘This year we are going to have the water tested. We don’t want to see any families in there and some of them being ill.’

The club’s cross-harbour swim takes place on Sunday, but may be called off if officials are unhappy with the state of the water.

Officials at Southern Water said there is ‘no statutory requirement’ for the company to provide flags or signs about the operation of its discharges.

This is because Langstone Harbour is not a designated bathing water. However, it does inform the Langstone Harbour Board when there is a discharge.

A spokeswoman added: ‘We are committed to making improvements to our storm tanks and outfall at Fort Cumberland and a £10m scheme is under way to enhance the resilience of this site. The first stage of this started last year and changes the way storm water enters and then passes through the tanks on the site.

‘Further work to improve the robustness of the site, following the severe damage caused during a storm in 2010, is also under way. This additional work includes refurbishing the pumps and screens on site.

‘These screens capture any debris within the storm water before the screened storm water is released. The additional work should be complete by the end of this year.’

She added that a £20m upgrade of Portsmouth’s sewer system was due to be completed this autumn.