Inspections carried out at 9 Thanet beaches following wastewater release at Joss Bay

Warning signs at Thanet beaches in 2021 Photo Rebecca Douglas

Southern Water says inspections have been carried out across nine Thanet beaches and bays following an unscreened wastewater release at Joss Bay yesterday (October 5).

The release resulted in advice not to go in the water or on the beach at the high tide mark for beaches stretching from Westbrook to Ramsgate’s Western Undercliff.

Southern Water says they believe five of the beaches are ‘unlikely’ to be impacted by water quality issues. The Isle of Thanet News has asked which beaches these are.

Initially swimmers were warned against using three – and then five – of the bays at Broadstairs but this was updated and signs advising the public not to enter the water were  put in place across the Westbrook to Ramsgate stretch.

Photo Rebecca Douglas

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “Following a fault with pumps at our Broadstairs Wastewater Pumping Station, the resulting wastewater release at Joss Bay was quickly stopped.

“Our focus (yesterday) afternoon has been on ensuring the fault doesn’t reoccur and inspection of local beaches to identify, prevent and minimise any impact on the environment. Nine beaches have been fully inspected and currently no sign of debris has been found.

“We also wish to reassure customers that we’ve already committed to further ongoing inspections at all these beaches for at least five days, and longer if needed, with immediate clean-ups undertaken if required.

“ While we are inspecting a total of nine beaches we believe the risk of impact to water quality at five of them is unlikely.

Photo Rebecca Douglas

“We are continuing to work with the Environment Agency and Thanet District Council to minimise any impact on the environment and provide accurate up to date information to customers. A full investigation will also be undertaken to understand the cause of the fault.

“Southern Water is passionately committed to the environment and part of this is being fully transparent about how we operate. We’re leading the way within the water industry with pollution reporting, and the Beachbouy Bathing Water Portal is part of this. We’re also very heavily invested in cutting pollution incidents, reducing them by 75% by 2025. In Thanet, this includes a first-of-its-kind surface water drainage survey for the area.

“Across the Southern Water region, we’re investing £200 million a year for wastewater assets and environmental protection.”

Photo Rebecca Douglas

Leader of Thanet District Council, Councillor Ash Ashbee said: “I obviously feel the frustration of local residents and businesses and will continue to push for a longer term and more robust response around the promised improvement and investment in Thanet’s wastewater system.

“Our coastline and beautiful beaches, arguably our most important natural assets, should not have to sustain continued environmental damage. Rest assured this is a fight I will continue to take to the highest possible level.”

Bathers told not to enter water or beach below the high water mark across Thanet coast from Westbrook to Ramsgate due to ‘unscreened’ wastewater spill

Swimmers advised to stay out of water at five Thanet bays after ‘unscreened’ wastewater release


    • What a sell from TDC Tourism-come to Margate & view the wonderful Arlington House as you step off the train, then go & look at all the empty shops in the high street & paddle in fecal matter-not only on the dirty pavements that only get cleaned when somebody ‘special’ is turning up, but also on our wonderful beaches.

  1. no ifs, buts or maybes – serial envirnonemtal criminals Southern Water must be nationalised as quickly posible

    • The directors should also be jailed-if any member of the public or a random company were caught/admitted deliberately dumping vast amounts of toxic waste in the sea, just to save a few bob time after time they would be.

    • As a convicted criminal yourself Ian Driver how about you trash buildings with paint to protest again?

  2. Arrest and charge the Directors of Southern Water plc for committing a public nuisance and endangering public health

    • Likely they donate to the Tories or went to school with most of them. Wonder how many MP’S have shares in the company?

  3. This government has made it legal for water companies to pump untreated sewage into the sea and rivers if there’s a delivery problem with treatment chemicals.

  4. great comments from steve – and no doubt there will be a meeting somewhere about it – bla bla bla , while we just wait for it to happen again , i would like to say they are full of s**t but i suppose thats a bit obvious ?

  5. They charge us for treating waste water, then at every opportunity dump it untreated into the sea. That’s stealing. Southern Water are an absolute disgrace.

  6. This really is deplorable and even more worrying when we consider the impact all the thousands of new houses will have on sewage and drain water. I see from the Isle of Wight press that Southern Water are not meeting their standards either. A nationalised water industry would not have to pay directors and shareholders so the earlier comment seemed sensible to me.

  7. Southern Water is not fit for purpose and needs to be brought back into public ownership. I have lost count of the times this has happened in 2021, and it must be the worst year on record. Is it due to Brexit (lack of staff), compounded by Covid (lack of staff)? TDC must press the government to take action.

  8. The government–a Tory one amazingly–is taking the local railway company into public ownership as it has been involved in some kind of financial “incident” as a private company.
    Why not take the water company into public ownership as well? Then the only motivation would be to act as a public service.
    Of course, I wouldn’t want them to be run just like a private company. There should be lots of democratic public involvement. How about elected bodies to run the railways? Let people stand for election to sit on the managing body.
    They could tell us whether they think a new Thanet Parkway station is a good use of money. And we would vote accordingly.
    Or they could tell us how they would change things to avoid all the sewage in the sea. They would outline the general costs and tell us what they intended to spend and how etc.
    It’s called “democracy”. Worth a try, I reckon.

  9. i once applied for a job with southern water , but i was advised against it , apparently its a s**t company to work for ?

  10. The only real solution is to extend the discharge pipe out 3-4 miles. Alternatively extend it across to Calais and discharge close to their beaches to discourage the boat people.

    • Now that we’ve has Brexit, and are no longer in thrall to the rules and regulations imposed on us from Brussels, we can go back to the good old days. Away with expensive treatment works, just dump it in the sea and rivers, like we always used to.

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