Hayling Island sewage leak – Southern Water gives site clean bill of health after new inspection 

Southern Water operational manger, Daniel McElhinney (left), alongside the company's senior ecologist Ryan Oakley (right).
Southern Water operational manger, Daniel McElhinney (left), alongside the company's senior ecologist Ryan Oakley (right).

SOUTHERN Water have revisited the site of a sewage leak to ensure there is no remaining contamination.

The move is part of a process to reassure residents in the village of Stoke on Hayling Island that there are no remnants of pollution which could be a health and safety risk.

Southern Water workman removing debris from the drainage ditch.

Southern Water workman removing debris from the drainage ditch.

Residents have been aggrieved that, despite a large scale clean-up operation on the west of the A3023, they felt little had been done to deal with the situation surrounding their homes to the east after September’s sewage leak.

Operational manager, Daniel McElhinney, said: ‘I can assure residents there are no signs of pollution in the drainage ditch. We have taken samples and there is no presence of ammonia which would indicate sewage. There is also no sign of a grey sewage fungus which you would normally get if there is any pollution left behind.’

Mr McElhinney was keen to stress the company had been acting on the advice of the Environment Agency.

‘If we had been advised by the EA to clean up this side of the road then we would have done so. We were advised to let nature take its cause as ultraviolet light has disinfecting qualities,’ explained Mr McElhinney.

Many residents were concerned that any sewage covered by vegetation would not be exposed to this process.

Ryan Oakley, senior ecologist with Southern Water, has moved to dispel these fears.

‘There is certainly enough natural light in the ditch for this process to take place. Any oil pollution which can be seen on the surface is run off from the roads. There are no traces of sewage left.’ explained Mr Oakley.

Resident, Ray Rowsell, feels they need to accept this explanation.

‘We have to listen to what the experts have said that there is no sewage left in the ditch,’ said Mr Rowsell.

Southern Water have started a light clean-up of the ditch to remove  debris and allow the drainage system to move more freely. Mr McElhinney is also keen to maintain a clear line of communication with residents.

‘We are committed to an open dialogue,’ he said.

Residents are pleased that Southern Water have listened to their concerns.

Caroline Mead, who lives alongside the ditch, said: ‘I am pleased to see they have listened to us and that something is getting done.’

‘It is good to see Southern Water are following up on what they said they would do. They are demonstrating that they are willing to deal with residents and follow up on their concerns,’ added Mr Rowsell.