Advice against bathing at Viking Bay has been lifted – and a ‘Southern Water’ protest has been organised

Viking Bay Photo Brian Whitehead

A warning not to enter the water at Viking Bay has now (June 19) been lifted.

Yesterday Thanet council said separately to the incident of wastewater release at Foreness, the quality of water at Viking Bay has been impacted by significant rainfall wand advice against bathing was issued.

This has now been lifted.

Advice to stay out of the water at the following 11 beaches and bays remains:

  • Minnis Bay (Environment Agency website lists Minnis as safe to bathe this morning)
  • West Bay
  • St Mildreds Bay
  • Westbrook
  • Margate Main Sands
  • Walpole Bay
  • Palm Bay
  • Foreness
  • Botany Bay
  • Kingsgate Bay
  • Joss Bay

Signs have been placed on these bays to inform beach users.

A clean up operation around the coast led by Southern Water continues, with extra resources being deployed over the weekend.

This is due to the wastewater release during the storm on Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Southern Water has contractors out this morning with heavy plant machinery. They are removing large volumes of seaweed which has debris caught up in it.

Southern Water says the release was due to a lightning strike at the wastewater pumping station which caused a power outage and also disabled the telemetry systems, causing the discharge via the outfall. Power was restored to the site via power from the emergency generator but not in time to help the telemetry to control the site as intended.

Given the potential for further heavy rain, beach users are urged to check the Environment Agency bathing waters webpage for up to date information.


ACORN Margate – made up of residents from the town – is holding a protest on Sunday afternoon over the Southern Water wastewater release.

Starting 1pm outside Thanet District Council offices in Cecil Street, attendees will march to Foreness Pumping Station.

They are demanding Southern Water:

  1. Compensate local businesses affected by reduced tourist traffic.
  2. Compensate customers in Thanet who pay for water treatment, management and appropriate disposal.
  3. Commit to investing in infrastructure at Foreness Pumping Station so that this never happens again.

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms is asked not to attend. People are asked to wear a mask, use hand sanitiser and keep social distance.