Response to public reports of sewage around Hayling Island

Southern Water prides itself on being the most open and transparent company in the UK on providing environmental data to customers and regulators.

With telemetry covering 98 per cent of our outfalls, our self-reporting of storm and other releases to regulators is industry leading. In addition our Beachbuoy app provides near real time data to recreational water users at every one of the 83 designated bathing waters in our region plus Chichester and Langstone Harbour.

We responded to a series of reports from the public to the Environment Agency throughout Friday night alleging sewage in the sea around Hayling Island and Pagham.

Teams were immediately sent to investigate and checks were begun on assets such as pumping stations in the area.

As a precautionary measure based on the number of calls it was receiving from the public the EA issued a pollution risk forecast ‘due to abnormal conditions’.

On Saturday we were able to confirm all assets in the area were operating as normal. Storm tanks at Budds Farm remained empty all weekend and no storm or other releases were made throughout the weekend. Our Beachbuoy app continued to operate all weekend and showed no releases.

Our people have continued to visit beaches, shores, outfalls and sites since the reports – sometimes in the company of EA officials. No evidence of pollution has been found.

This week we sent crews in boats out to take samples. Some areas of foam were noted which appears to be algae and tests are being carried out. No sewage odour was detected although there is slight odour in some marshland areas possibly due to rotting seaweed or other vegetation.

We continue to make major investments in the area to ensure our customers are served and the environment protected. On Hayling Island some £17.5 million is being spent on sewer main renewal and upgrades to increase the resilience of a key pumping station.