Beach huts flooded with raw sewage after Southern Water pipe bursts

·2-min read
beach huts at Bulverhythe - News_Scans
beach huts at Bulverhythe - News_Scans

Beach huts have been flooded with raw sewage by a Southern Water pipe just weeks after the firm was given a record pollution fine.

Up to 20 huts on Bulverhythe Beach in Hastings, East Sussex, have been damaged by the pollution, caused by a burst pipe, with swimmers advised by the Environment Agency to stay out of the water at several nearby beaches.

The sewer main initially burst on Wednesday afternoon and the company used tankers to circumvent the damaged area, but the spill restarted on Friday morning after the volume of sewage became too much for the tankers.

Kevin Boorman, the manager at Hastings Borough Council responsible for the seafront, said the incident was the most serious he had seen in two decades in the job.

"I've been doing this job for over 20 years and I've never been involved with a sewage contamination of this kind. I've had burst water mains but that has been clear water, water that goes into the tap.

The spill eventually became too much for the lorries brought in to deal wit the problem - News_Scans
The spill eventually became too much for the lorries brought in to deal wit the problem - News_Scans

"I have not been involved in anything as significant as this and the fact that it occurred on a second day is I think exceptionally unusual."

The pipe involved is understood to be 30 years old and had not previously failed, so the reason for the incident is not currently known.

Bulverhythe Beach would likely reopen on Saturday, Mr Boorman said.

The water company said it would repair huts and replace damaged items. "We will be carrying out litter picks on the beach this afternoon to ensure any debris is cleaned and the beach and its surroundings are restored promptly," a spokesman for Southern Water said.

It comes after the company was fined a record £90 million in early July for dumping raw sewage in the sea off Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex in almost 7,000 illegal spills between 2010 and 2015.

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