Southern Water insists 'no incidents' of pollution despite Environment Agency reporting 'abnormal situation' and residents discovering waste

A WATER company has insisted there was ‘no evidence’ of pollution despite the Environment Agency revealing there was an ‘abnormal situation’ off Southsea and Hayling Island.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 5:02 pm

Southern Water said there were ‘no incidents’ despite the Environment Agency warning people not get into the water off Eastney and Hayling Island due to an ‘abnormal situation’ after being told of ‘sewage, litter and odour’ on Friday. Its officers did not find any sewage on Saturday.

The agency warned people against bathing at Southsea East, Eastney, Eastoke, Beachlands West and Beachlands Central.

Water quality checks at several locations were suspended after the start of the incident at 12.20am on Saturday.

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Final Straw Foundation members Georgie Smith, Zoe Bentley, and Zoe's son Matt at Eastney beach on October 9, 2021

‘This incident has been identified as an abnormal situation, water quality monitoring has been suspended,’ a statement from the agency said.

‘Bathing is not advised, due to pollution from other.’

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Concerned locals reported coming across debris, and members of the Final Straw Foundation collected 135kg of rubbish and dirty wet wipes at Eastney on Saturday morning.

Despite this, Southern Water has insisted there were no incidents.

A spokesman said: ‘Our industry-leading Beachbuoy app keeps recreational water users informed in near real-time of any storm releases made to protect customers’ homes, schools and businesses.

‘We believe we are the most transparent and open company in the industry when it comes to informing customers and regulators of storm releases or other issues. No releases were made over the weekend and there were no incidents at any of our assets in the area. We responded quickly to calls claiming there was evidence of pollution and investigated both by checking assets and walking beaches.

‘No evidence was found. We always welcome calls which might be alerting us to a problem and thank our customers for being our eyes on the ground.’

Hayling Sewage Watch reported that according to Southern Water’s Beachbuoy data there had been released water containing untreated sewage into Chichester and Langstone Harbour for 22.22 hours during September.

Mike Owens, of Hayling Sewage Watch, said: ‘It is high time that Southern Water took action to stop this dangerously high level of pollution.’

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