Following a clean up operation and inspections around the coast, advice for the public not to enter the sea or the area of beach below the high water mark has today (Wednesday 23 June) been lifted.
Signs will now be removed at the 11 bays where guidance against bathing had previously been in place following a lightning strike at the Margate wastewater pumping station overnight on June 16/17.
Southern Water says the strike 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.
It resulted in a release from the outfall pipes into Palm Bay and Margate Sands which has impacted the majority of Thanet’s coastline.
Southern Water teams will remain out around the coast to continue to monitor the situation. Members of the public are advised to contact Southern Water on 0330 303 0368 to report any concerns should there be further evidence of any impact following the high tides.
A Thanet council statement says: “Throughout the incident the council has continued to seek advice and guidance around bathing water quality in liaison with the Environment Agency. Due to the time that has elapsed and the number of tidal cycles that have passed, it is considered a notable reduction in risk.
“Following a constructive meeting between senior council officials, the local MPs and the Chief Executive of Southern Water yesterday, assurances have been provided that reasonable compensation will be provided by Southern Water, to local businesses that have been directly impacted.
“A commitment to cover the costs incurred by the council in responding to the incident has also been provided, along with an offer to fund community related beach support in the coming weeks.”
However, Barry Manners, from the Friends of Botany Bay and Kingsgate group, says wet wipes and other contaminants are still littering the beaches and being swept in and out by the tide.
Two volunteers from the group were at Kingsgate yesterday and said they collected “too many to count” wet wipes and sanitary towels on the falling tide.
Barry said the volunteers had seen “no sign” of Southern Water cleaners, adding: “We have 11 affected beaches and bays, litter pickers should be out there on all those beaches.
Really? So all those sanitary towels and other products washing ashore are going to be left to wash in and out with the tide ad infinitum? @cmackinlay @CllrLesley @IsleThanetNews pic.twitter.com/r0pzxAKOZX
— Friends of Botany Bay & Kingsgate CIC (@botany_of) June 23, 2021
“There were sanitary towels covering Walpole Bay yesterday and Botany Bay.”
Mr McAuly said: “At our meeting with Thanet District Council leader, Councillor Ash Ashbee, the district council’s CEO Madeline Homer and local MPs Sir Roger Gale and Craig Mackinlay we repeated the commitment to compensate local businesses directly affected by the incident, we are acutely aware of the additional pressures that businesses have experienced as a result of Covid.
“We made this offer last week and have invited directly affected businesses to contact us with information about the impact the incident has had on their business activities.
“In addition, we also agreed to work in partnership with the council to fund additional community and environment work around the beaches area over the summer.”
Local businesses affected should contact Barry.Woodham@southernwater.co.uk in the first instance.