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.
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.
“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.”
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.”