Advice not to enter water at 14 Thanet beaches due to ‘unscreened’ release to remain in place for the weekend

Warning signs at Thanet beaches in 2021 Photo Rebecca Douglas

Advice against bathing or entering the area below the high water mark at 14 of Thanet’s beaches following an unscreened wastewater release from the Southern Water pumping station at Broadstairs remains in place for the weekend. 

All signs will stay displayed on the affected beaches between Westbrook Bay and the Western Undercliff in Ramsgate.

This follows a failure at Southern Water’s Wastewater Pumping Station in Broadstairs on Tuesday (October 5)

Since the incident, Thanet council has attended daily calls with Southern Water and the Environment Agency to assess the impact on the coastline.

Southern Water has provided assurances that their contractors have been carrying out beach inspections every day to continue to assess the impact of the spill and to clean up any evidence of debris.

Photo Rebecca Douglas

The council has also continued to carry out visual inspections. As there is evidence of items being washed up onto the shoreline, existing advice will remain in place.

A further update will be issued next week. County Councillor Karen Constantine is in contact with the water company and is seeking a public meeting for early in November.

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 the unscreened wastewater release had been due to a fault with pumps, with the resulting release at Joss Bay.

Photo Rebecca Douglas

A statement issued by the company yesterday (October 7) said: “Following the fault at our Broadstairs Pumping Station on Tuesday morning, we are continuing to comb nearby beaches for any evidence of impact and clean up if necessary.

“We will continue to do this until we, the Environment Agency and Thanet District Council are satisfied no risk of environmental damage remains.

“A full investigation is taking place 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.”

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


  1. This is mass environmental vandalism caused by criminal negligence – when are the arrests starting?

  2. Southern Water just don’t care, they have absolutely zero incentive to improve matters and they’d rather spend their revenue on rewarding their directors and shareholders. even a £90 million fine is peanuts compared to the profit they made, and they’ll just pass extra costs onto customers.

    What we need to do is ALL refuse to pay our water bill unntil the problem is rectified. Any sewage release should void customer bills for that financial year. If we all come together and refuse then we will have the upper hand, not SW.

  3. With all these failures of control and previous heavy fines, why is the board of directors unchanged? Surely the shareholders should be demanding a change, the customers certainly are.

  4. Southern water do not care about the environment and its shown throughout the years with the constant pollution being pumped out onto our coastal areas. How many times this year alone has this happened?
    It’s disgusting and their response is laughable. The fine didn’t mean a thing to them, just another expense that the customers will have to foot the bill for.
    When will the government bring this company accountable for their negligence. Rather than spend money on fixing the issue, they’d rather pay fines as it’s a smaller amount!
    They need to fire every single person at the top of that company instead of paying them a nice hansom salary every year!

  5. What is our MP doing about the ongoing problem of coastal pollution and ensuring that Southern water is forced to change its ways?

Comments are closed.