Investigations are ongoing into the wastewater release at Foreness earlier this week and a compensation scheme is open for businesses affected by the incident, says Southern Water.
The statement issued this morning (June 20) comes ahead of a planned protest march to the pumping station by residents.
People on the march are due to meet outside the Thanet council offices at 1pm, with further families and volunteer litter pickers meeting at Palm Bay café at 2pm, in a bid to demand Southern Water:
- Compensate local businesses affected by reduced tourist traffic.
- Compensate customers in Thanet who pay for water treatment, management and appropriate disposal.
- Commit to investing in infrastructure at Foreness Pumping Station so that this never happens again.
However, Dr Nick Mills, Head of Pollution and Flooding Resilience at Southern Water, said: “No pollution is acceptable to us or our customers and we apologise for the impact the latest incident has had on local residents, businesses and the environment.
“We are dedicated to protecting the environment and reducing pollution incidents is a top priority for us.
“We have invested £3.2billion across our region in the last six years to improve the capacity and efficiency of the wastewater network and will continue to do, with a further £1.7billion committed for the next four years.
“As part of the Government’s CSO Task Force we are committed to tackling this national and complex issue and we are leading the way with the publication of our comprehensive Pollution Incident Reduction Plan last year.
“Wastewater releases at times of heavy rainfall happen across the UK to protect properties from flooding. The release that happened overnight on 16 June was caused by a combination of heavy rainfall and lightning strike during the storms which caused a short power failure and affected systems on site at our Margate Water Pumping Station.
“ Back-up generators are in place. As part of our preparations for the predicted thunderstorms and heavy rainfall we also had a team standing by in the area. These additional precautionary measures meant we were able to immediately begin work restoring the site to full operation.
“Unfortunately, we had to make this emergency release to protect local homes and businesses from internal flooding.
“Our investigations into this incident are ongoing and we continue to work closely with the Environment Agency and Thanet District Council. We continue to monitor the coastline and clean-up after each high tide.
“A compensation scheme for businesses is available and business owners affected by this incident can make a claim.”
In liaison with the Environment Agency, advice against bathing is in place at the following bays:
St Mildreds Bay
Margate Main Sands
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 this weekend.