Southern Water repair works to damaged sewer main at Cliffsend

Southern Water

Southern Water is currently working to repair damage to a sewer main near Cliffsend.

Engineers and operators are onsite to assess the repair work needed and lay a temporary line to try and avert the risk of a release from the Foreness Point pumping station in the event of rain.

The damage could mean that a downpour could overflow the breach in the sewer pipe and a release would have to take place from the long sea outfall.

Tankers are on standby and work is to take place on a temporary line.

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “Damage to one of our sewer mains has been found on farm land near Cliffs End, Thanet.

“Wastewater flows are currently contained and there is no damage to the environment. Our priorities are to ensure service to customers is maintained and that we continue to protect the environment.

“Plans are in place to manage the risks on site, with engineers and operators on site assessing the work. This is likely to be a complex repair and we will work as quickly as is safe.

“We are working closely with the Environment Agency and Thanet District Council.”

A demonstration to protest at Southern Water pumping station and combined sewer discharges into the Thanet coastline will be held in Ramsgate on Saturday (October 30).

Organised by Ramsgate residents and sea swimmers, the protest will be staged at the Western Undercliff from midday to 1pm.

Organisers are expecting a big and colourful turnout and are asking people to wear fancy dress or red for ‘emergency’. They hope to be joined by other Save our Seas groups from around Kent, musicians, poets and speakers, including Margate councillor Rob Yates who has been investigating Southern Water practices, Ramsgate mayor Raushan Ara, Green Party councillor Tricia Austin and a speaker from Whitstable’s SOS campaign.


  1. What we actually need to see is a summary of the problems facing Thanet water and a list of the solutions against a time frame. Separating storm drains from domestic sewage would seem to be a priority as is providing working generators at each site. Quote “We are working closely with the Environment Agency and Thanet District Council.”
    That quotation does not fill me with any hope at all. The EA are a bunch of tadpole watchers and as for TDC?

  2. Why is rain water getting into domestic sewage?…..they keep blaming sudden downpours of rain as the reason they have to emergency release sewage into the sea to prevent residential properties being flooded with sewage….

    • Because our Victorian sewers only have one pipe. So whether it’s from your lavatory, bath, shower, dishwasher or the gullet outside, it all goes down the same pipe. Pump failures excepted, the sewage works usually cope. But when we get torrential rain, they get overwhelmed.
      More enlightened countries have dual systems, with separate pipes for sewage and rainwater.

  3. I’m surprised they bother. Although they probably are going through the motions, they know this government fully supports their grubby practises and although the WHOLE country wants a stop to this – they will vote down anything that might stop such practises.

    People will still vote them back in.

  4. Why bother if their policy is to dump as much sewage into the water as possible? Once again, why on earth is anybody entering the water at any of the beaches they cover in the South-risking all kinds of illnesses from the shite they keep pumping into it year after year, from a mix of outdated infrastructure/equipment & on purpose to save a few quid as they admitted in court.

      • We have no idea if that is the case-they admitted in court to discharging sewage to save money many times over many years-nobody knew they were doing it & even when it is due to a problem you don;t know until you read about it here or wherever, so you can be paddling in it without knowing.

        Who knows how many times they have got away with releasing sewage to save a few bob in the past & who knows if they are still doing it? It isn’t like anybody faces jail-just a fine they offset by upping their prices & sacking staff.

  5. Much of the country’s sewage system dates from Victorian times when sewage was the priority because of diseases like Cholera, typhoid, etc. There would have been large areas of countryside where water could drain away into the subsoil. With so many more houses and areas of tarmac, there are much fewer places that soakaway can happen. So when it rains more water tries to go down the small sewers and flooding occurs. The choice then becomes into the sea or into the houses!
    Building large storm drains (as you see in many American films) is going to become very expensive but necessary if the overflowing of the current systems is to be abated at all.

    • Yep, but something they could have done if the bosses weren’t filling their & their shareholders pockets to a disgusting degree year on year. Rewarding failure & endangering the public on purpose to save money.

      Ian McAulay, chief executive of Southern Water, was given a bonus of £550,900 while its chief financial officer was handed £290,000. This took their annual pay packet to over £1million and £650,000 respectively.

    • Spot on.
      We could all help in the short term by replacing our concreted over front gardens with something more permeable. Then, when it rains, there’s a chance for the water to soak away, rather than wash straight into the sewers.

  6. Engineers on site.
    Tankers on standby.
    Plans are in place.
    How many sitting around doing nothing?, theres a leak needs to be fixed.
    I don’t think one can be cut off water so I won’t be paying my bill , I will think about it and then put a plan in place .

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