Hampshire councillors raise fears over sewage dumps as Southern Water launches task force
CONCERNS have been raised by politicians over what's being done about wastewater pouring into high streets and harbours.
In recent weeks, Southern Water has come under fire for the dumping of sewage into Langstone Harbour in Portsmouth, with one release at Budds Farm running from 2.15am on October 20 to 3.15am on October 22.
Councillors at Hampshire County Council have also raised fears about recent incidents in Winchester High Street.
But Southern Water insists improvements are being made, with a 'significant investment' into the problem.
Speaking at a full council meeting, Liberal Democrat member for Winchester Eastgate, Cllr Dominic Hiscock, said: 'A recent rainstorm saw sewage flooding from Southern Water down Winchester High Street.
'I wonder how many other sewage flooding incidents the county council has had reported to them in the last 12 months, and what the plan is to stop this from reoccurring.'
Executive member for climate change and sustainability, Cllr Jan Warwick, said: 'Responsibility for the public sewers and drains lies with the regional water and wastewater sewage companies.
'Incidents with sewage flooding should have been reported for further investigation, and are monitored by the water company online.
'The county council is informing drainage and management plans from the water companies, and will set out how wastewater systems are being improved to make sure they are robust and reliable for the future.'
This week, Southern Water launched a task force to cut storm overflows - wastewater released during periods of heavy rainfall - by 80 per cent by 2030.
The task force will work with a £1.5bn investment programme.
Ian McAulay, Southern Water’s CEO, said: 'There is a growing call to take action to reduce the frequency and impact of storm overflows. That is a task of scale and complexity and needs multi-sector collaboration and a join up of policy to make it happen, which of course appears difficult today.
'However, just twenty years ago, the quality of our coastal waters needed to improve drastically. Today, reflecting significant investment driven by focused policy, all 83 of our regional bathing waters meet strict European Standards and a total of 78 are rated excellent or good.
'Delivering a similar transformation in the reduction of storm releases is the logical next step and we believe this can be achieved. We will play our part in leading and driving the collaboration and investment needed.'