Sewage discharges fall due to drier weather, not Southern Water’s actions

The data released by the Environment Agency regarding the total duration (hours) of all spills by Southern Water, prior to processing into the sea and the East Stour river, across the nine site in our district has fallen since 2020.

However that said, John Leyland, environment agency executive director said last year’s decrease (202) was “largely down to dry weather, not water company action”.

Southern Water release sewage when there is too much demand on their treatment works during rainy periods.

Contained within the untreated effluent is human waste, wet wipes, condoms and sanitary products, which pose a serious risk to the local wildlife, swimmers and others who use local waterways. Or put another way they pour a toxic cocktail of many pollutants, including microplastics and pathogens in our seas of our coastline and into the East Stour river.

Southern Water, like all other water companies must significantly reduce harmful pathogens from storm overflows discharging into and near designated bathing waters by either applying disinfection or reducing the frequency of discharges to meet Environment Agency spill standards by 2035.

Knowing how many hours Southern Water dumped sewage into the sea tells us nothing. What we need to know is the volume of the spillages, eg how many Olympic swimming pools or Wembley stadiums, they poured into the sea. That way we’d be able to put this into some kind of context, as one must remember they’ve been doing this since 1989.

But it is not just Southern Water who are destroying our rivers and seas with sewage. Lord Reed of the Supreme Court has recently said about United Utilities, who provide water and wastewater services in the North West of England

Such behavior by any water company breaching its statutory duty should not be allowed. Let’s hope the Good Law project, who have an upcoming High Court hearing against the Government’s failure to put in place a proper plan to stop the discharge of sewage into our rivers and coastal waters is successful. 

Our seas and rivers deserve protection, as do the people who use them, wherever they are in the UK. 

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime



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6 Comments on Sewage discharges fall due to drier weather, not Southern Water’s actions

  1. Perhaps the public should also think twice about what they put down their toilets.

  2. The Sound of Silence // April 1, 2023 at 10:54 // Reply

    Paul Whitehouse and Prof. Jamie Woodward have been investigating water company pollution of waterways, discovering quality over all in the UK is deteriorating, mostly driven by water company profit orientation answering to investors.
    Treating sewerage eats in to profits, discharging during heavy rainfall reduces treatment costs. Dry weather depletes the opportunities for water company’s to legally discharge raw sewage: dry weather is not a reason or excuse for poor water quality, dry weather creates greater necessity for water companies to treat sewerage volumes, prior to discharge, which is what they are paid to do, protecting public health.

    An article in The Guardian on the subject published a quote from The Environment Agency> ‘Bosses should be jailed’. July 14th 2022.

    One might argue that the core problem is national health standards balanced by private company administrators, perhaps more reasonably managed if nationalised, placed under government health department control.

    There has been no adequate response from our guardians, Shepway (FHDC) Council, nor their wing, St. Mary’s Bay parish council pertaining to local sewerage contamination, while alarm is raising in the national press and TV documentaries.

    Our nominated public bodies seem quite defunct in attempting to influence water company policy change to safe guard public health, while they are further noted for not communicating with the public immediate steps they have recently taken to have the deteriorating health risk reversed, if any.

    There are workable solutions to these increasingly, avoidable public health risks.

    The Sound of Silence…………………….

  3. I am not supporting the wastewater industry, not all while the CE take so much wages, however, residents have to take responsibility over the amount of rain water enters the system. Look around to see how many gardens are block paved or concreted over. No longer are the lawns and flower beds taking the water.

    • @Paul

      Block paving a drive is nothing compared to the corrupt councils approving all these rabbit hutch estates that keep popping up with no thought of waste water management.
      The monstrosity that is being built along Folkestone seafront still has no viable way of connecting to the sewage system . If they were to connect it would flood the system further down the line but I’m sure brown envelopes will pass through hands to sign it off .
      Just hope you aren’t one of those living down the line

      • @Kevin

        It is on the seafront, where do you think it will discharge? Of course there will have to be a long outflow pipe to ensure the residents in their luxury flats aren’t inconvenienced.

  4. Well, if we had someone actually in control here, instead of generating financial dialogue quotes from movie script, ‘Hallelujah’ comes to mind, (you know, the bad guy accountant scene?), all these matters would be sensibly addressed, by our ‘nominated’ Shepway/FHDC CEO, wouldn’t they?!?!?!?! LOL!

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