Southern Water says action to clean up the Margate beach area after a release of wastewater from the emergency outfall at Foreness Point on Wednesday night has been completed – but updated information also reveals Westbrook and Westgate beaches have been affected bringing the total to ten.
The release was due to a lightning strike at the wastewater pumping station and resulted in Thanet council issuing a warning not to enter the sea or the area of beach below the high water mark on bays between Margate Main Sands and Joss Bay, and now Westbrook and Westgate.
Margate Main Sands
A Southern Water spokesperson said: “An initial clean-up was completed yesterday afternoon, with further action by the clean-up crew after high tide yesterday evening to ensure any additional debris washed up on shore was removed promptly. We will continue to monitor the coastline today and act quickly should further debris be identified.
“Minimising the impact of this incident has been our priority throughout. While the release was heavily diluted with rain water and ran for a relatively short period of time, no pollution is acceptable to us or our customers. We continue to work closely with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the local authority to assess the impact on the environment.
“In partnership with Thanet council our priority is focussed on beach users being able to enjoy the water.”
The beaches have signs in place to warn the public of the risk. There has been no indication as yet when they will be ‘reopened.’
A Thanet council statement says: “Thanet District Council teams are out to assess the impact and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“The Environment Agency will be completing water quality testing in the area which will help inform the next steps.
“As soon as we are able to lift the advice against bathing we will do so and we will continue to keep beach users and the wider public updated.”
Last year volunteer litter pickers from the Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate spent more than 100 hours over the six weeks following a similar sewage incident picking up thousands of wet wipes, tampons and other waste.