Clean up underway following sewage discharge into Joss Bay

Joss Bay Photo Thanet Police

Sewage was discharged into Joss Bay yesterday (February 16) due to a fault at the Broadstairs pumping station.

The wastewater was released at around 9.50am.Southern Water is now assessing whether neighbouring beaches have been affected by the pollution.

A clean up is now underway.

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “We’re very sorry to report that due to a fault at the Broadstairs Wastewater Pumping Station at approximately 9:50am yesterday wastewater was released via the emergency outfall into the area around Joss Bay.

“This was the only action available to us to prevent internal flooding to local properties.

“A full investigation is taking place to assess if other beaches nearby have been affected and we will provide an update as soon as we can. A beach walk and clean up is under way.

“No pollution is acceptable to us or our customers. We are working with the Environment Agency and Local Authority to assess the negative impact on the environment.”

Joss Bay has previously been affected by sewage releases in 2012 and 2014. The discharge in 2014 followed very heavy rain and affected Walpole, Palm Bay, Botany Bay, Kingsgate Bay, Joss Bay, Stone Bay, and Viking Bay.

Photo Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate

A Thanet council spokesperson said precautionary advice is being issued to beach users at Joss Bay, Kingsgate Bay, Botany Bay, Stone Bay, and Walpole Bay not to enter the water below the high tide mark.

They added: “This follows notification from Southern Water that there had been a fault at Broadstairs Pumping Station.

Temporary signs are on display at the affected beaches.  This advice is expected to be in place until tomorrow when Southern Water has completed a full clean up operation.

“Southern Water is also carrying out a full investigation and the council is working closely with them and the Environment Agency to understand the impact of this incident.”

County Councillor Karen Constantine is calling for upgrades at the pumping station.

She said: “I’m extremely concerned to hear about this sewage discharge, future events such as this need to be avoided. I’m calling on Southern Water to upgrade maintenance and to implement additional contingency plans to avoid a repeat of this incident.

“Our local marine ecology is precious. Greater care needs to be taken with our unique coastline. Thanet’s chalk cliffs are very special on a global scale, they support very specialised rare algae of high marine conservation value. That’s why we have SSSI status and other marine designations, it is vital that we protect them.

“We have a duty to conserve one of Britain’s most unique sights for future generations, and for the environments they support.”
UPDATE 4.40pm:
Southern Water said: “Our teams have completed an inspection of Joss Bay and Botany Bay. We have informed the Environment Agency and Thanet District council that a small amount of debris was found at Joss Bay and our modelling shows that water conditions will already have returned to normal for this time of year. Any litter spotted was removed.

“Our Broadstairs Pumping Station was running normally from yesterday afternoon, and we believe the environmental impact has been limited. Investigations are continuing in to the root cause of the problem and these findings will be shared with all the relevant agencies.”


    • Not careless Ton, deliberate! as their statement says…..“This was the only action available to us to prevent internal flooding to local properties.

      While I confess to not knowing how these ‘waste water’ pumping systems work, there’s obviously a reason why it’s built next to the coast.

  1. It’s built next to the coast because Thanet is on the coast! Birmingham’s sewage treatment plants are not,
    I guess there was a failure of some pumping equipment, sewage was backing up in the system and threatening to burst out in the streets. Only option was to open the floodgates, as it were.

    • Andrew, this isn’t a sewage treatment plant, it’s a pumping station and by the coast, I meant literally on the cliff top but you knew that didn’t you!

  2. This is down to poor engineering! Why has it happened so often? Why wasn’t a back up system installed? It usually comes down to cost cutting, so SWA get it right! Its just as well it happened now, and not during the summer season!

  3. How much profit did Southern Water make this year? They must be made to use the money made to improve their services.

  4. This company must be FORCED to upgrade their sewage works. It is totally unacceptable to continually POLLUTE. The company must be made to UPGRADE their outdated insufficient system which effects all our beaches and wildlife. Fine the company and punish them for this. Big companies love to avoid expensive upgrades because they prefer to pay their top brass huge bonuses but we are left with the stinking filthy consequences.

    • If the company is fined, then ultimately we, not the shareholders, pay.
      It’s high time that major infrastructure was brought back into the public domain. Then it really would be accountable to us.

  5. Southern Water have previously been fined for this with proviso they do not increase water rates for their customers to cover their fines. They had also assured the public they were updating the pumping station so this could not happen again. Obviously they cut corners with that or didn’t do it as there has been no difference if it can still happen.
    The only way forward would be to have a seperate emergency pump that cuts in when the other fails. How much that costs is their concern but with repeated fines coming in for continued breaches of environmental regulations by releasing raw sewage into the sea off the Thanet coast it would be a sensible action for them to take. I really hope they are brought to book again over this with more serious charges this time. It is just not right that pollution of the sea and beaches is allowed to reoccur time and time again.

    • See my earlier comment Kent Resident! If SWA did not have any back up plant installed due to cost cutting they are negligent! Yes, re-nationalise water, its impossible to run as a private enterprise, another Tory idea that fails the public, like the railways too! Why are we still subsidising railways, and paying massive dividends to shareholders, Duurh!

  6. poop in the water around here is nothing new, many years ago a family member visited Broadstairs after having her swim she vowed never to return to the area after having experienced in the water a large human poop with a welcome to Broadstairs flag in it,need less to say she never returned.

    • Paul I am the person that happened to is it unacceptable that poo was within an inch of my face whilst swimming?or the fact it happened in Broadstairs? or the flag comment? the comment was about poo in the water around Broadstairs 60 years after my encounter? OK it might not have had a flag but you do not need to be a genius to know where it came from unless it was a day tripper

  7. what is unacceptable? the fact it was within an inch of my face whilst swimming? the fact that it was in Broadstairs? what? I am the person this happened to in the the 50sand it would seem nothing much has changed in all the years since then.

  8. Until recent years, most sewage from seaside towns simply underwent “primary treatment” (ie the big lumps were mashed up a bit) and then released into the sea, usually several hundred yards off shore.
    Encountering raw sewage in the sea was not at all unusual, be it Broadstairs, Blackpool or Bognor.
    It is thanks to EU legislation that the UK cleaned up its act, and (usually) all sewage is properly treated before being discharged.

  9. Again! Aren’t the local people still being paid back for the last couple of times this happened?
    I recently move out of Thanet so won’t ever get that payment now.
    Kind of convenient for big corporations to not worry how the operate

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