Alerts for overflow releases along Thanet’s coast issued on Southern Water’s Beachbuoy map

Verified overflow releases into Thanet's coastline

(Updated 11.44am)

Alerts for wastewater releases around Thanet’s coastline have been flagged on Southern Water’s Beachbuoy site.

The overflow releases, that may impact water quality, are flagged for Western Undercliff, Ramsgate main sands, Viking Bay, Stone Bay, Joss Bay, Botany Bay, Walpole Bay, Fulsam Rock and Margate main sands.

The outflows follow heavy rainfall last night (November 16). Initially unverified, outfalls at the majority of the sites – Stone Bay, Joss Bay, Botany Bay, Walpole Bay, Fulsam Rock and Margate main sands – are now confirmed with Viking Bay, Ramsgate and Western Undercliff expected to follow suit shortly.

The  release from Margate has been verified as the first this year from the town’s wastewater pumping station. Releases were made from both the short and long sea outfall pipes.

Releases have also been confirmed further along the coast at Herne Bay and Whitstable.

Margate pumping station Photo Southern Water

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “We experienced significant heavy rain in Margate yesterday with 31mm of rain falling within a 12-hour period. We are currently reviewing the releases and will be providing a further update to the Beachbuoy website once the releases have been investigated further.”

Storm overflow (combined sewer outfalls) releases occur due to the predominantly combined sewer system, where both wastewater and rain runoff enter the same network. During heavy downpours, rain overloads the system. To avoid homes, businesses, schools and roads flooding, excess water is released into the sea. Releases are around 95% rainwater but have not been fully screened.

Warning signs at Thanet beaches in 2021 Photo Rebecca Douglas

Southern Water is one of 11 water companies which earlier this year was ordered to reduce customers’ bills because of missed targets on areas such as water supply interruptions, pollution incidents and internal sewer flooding.

Southern Water has to return some £28.3million to its customers.

The company’s pollution incidents have hit the headlines numerous times, including two incidents last year. The first was a release of wastewater from the emergency outfall at Foreness Point in June 2021 which affected ten isle beaches. Southern Water said the release was due to a lightning strike at the wastewater pumping station.

The second was a failure at the Broadstairs pumping station in October 2021 resulting in advice against bathing or entering the area below the high water mark at 14 of Thanet’s beaches following an unscreened wastewater release.

An Environment Agency investigation into the Southern Water releases last year is being carried out with Margate councillor Rob Yates signed up as a formal witness for any proceedings.

The heavy rain also caused flooding at Margate’s All Saints Avenue this morning with pedestrians wading through a virtual river.

The water has soaked away after Margate resident and dad-of-two John Horton took action to clear the drains.


  1. And as long as we have have combined systems, it’s only going to get worse.
    Because of global warming, there’s lots more moisture in the atmosphere. Consequently, it rains much more heavily.

    • The idiot that was Boris Johnson almost on a weekly basis told me how the UK was leading the Worlc on all issues green.He also told us we had the fatest growing economy in thd G7. 3 months later we sre still polluting our country and the economy has collapsed. Its now the poorest economy in the G7 and 19th in the G20.Its amazing what BS politicians an spout.

      • Nothing to do with climate change (weren’t you all blaming the LACK of water on this a few months back?!)… and everything to do with concreting over Thanet instead of letting it drain naturally into farm land. Wanna do your bit? Then dig up the mini car parks in your front gardens and return them to grass and plants.

        • It has plenty to do with climate change. Warmer air flowing over the Atlantic means more moisture heading our way = heavier rainfall.
          When there’s a “blocking high”, such as we had for months this summer, there’s no moist Atlantic air, so no rain.

          True, it doesn’t help that people have concrete over acres of front gardens, causing rain to flash straight into the drains rather than soak into the ground.

          • Treat yourself to ‘The Kent Weather Book’ by Bob Ogley, Mark Davison, Ian Currie (you can pick up secondhand copies almost anywhere for a couple of quid). Kent has ALWAYS had freak weather (the River Rother changed course in 1287 due to a severe storm, and there’s 100s of other examples in the book!).

        • Apparently (for whatever reason) there’s an ongoing trend of rainfall becoming more concentrated into shorter more intense periods.
          And as you say , we’re creating ever more runoff into the sewer system that eventually just can’t cope, exacerbated by the unwillingness of residents to dipose of waste correctly , instead they flush wet wipes , sanitary products and kitchen roll which along with oils and fats poured down the sink give us the fatbergs that restrict / block the drainage system.
          There’s nothing that can’t be solved , but the customer will have to pay and upgrading the wastewater system will be horrendously expensive.

          • Indeed, Mr C, there has always been freak weather, and not just in Thanet.
            But Climate Change is driving these freak events to occur more often, and more freakily.

      • How do you know when Boris Johnson is lying? Answer, his lips move! Like all good con men, especially Trump, they tell people what they want to hear whether its true or not! Its amazing how many people believed his lies though, enough to get him elected! But he was finally found out, and sacked as prime minister. What I don’t understand is why he is still an MP, the same for Liz Truss, they both wrecked the economy, so why I are they still in the House of Commons?

    • Flooding!!! I have written to our Tory Councillor and Kent County Council and told them there are an incedible amount of drains all over Thanet.In a one walk the other day I counted 14.When i tried to report the 14 drains the Council thought I was making a complaint.They didnt seem to think I was trying to be helpful.Anyway,they then asked me to give the postal code for each drain.Can you believe the idiocy of this system.So expect some flooding and be careful for your home.

  2. So much road water and its unfiltered pollutants being fed into our lovely harbour.
    Hopefully those that discharge rainy water with other road dirt/oils/micro & major plastic/ rubber etc actually pay for the discharge.

    Stop polluting our natural harbour, we need a general election Q a protest. by red wags.

    • There’s no dispute.
      Drains are KCC.
      But establishing responsibility doesn’t solve the problem of untreated sewage on our beaches

  3. Southern Sewage at it again, funny-they were on the news the other day moaning how short they are of water yet again-probably because of their leaks & that they keep flushing it away with fecal matter attached.

    If only they & the other water companies had the money to update the Victorian systems, oh that’s right-they were given it 30 years back, but clearly found better things to spend it on. No doubt pay rises & bonuses for the millionaire bosses & to the shareholders.

  4. Actually the flooding was not a virtual river, it was a real river.
    Look at old maps and see Tivoli Dyke and Dane Valley. The old Olby’s building was called Bridge house and there was a bridge from its 1st floor across the river to the opposite side. The rivers are still there, just usually underground till it rains really hard. All Saints and Nayland area was marshland.

    • Dreamland car park used to be a harbour of sorts, not sure which year but got told the problem was only solved when the sea wall was built

  5. Climatologist Checksfield now! Is there no end to this man’s talents!
    Ok! Yes, Peter C is correct that paving over your front garden with ‘impermeable’ surfaces is now unlawful and requires planning permission if you do want to ‘concrete over your front garden’. This has been true since 1st October 2008, when what is known as ‘permitted development rights were altered’.
    If on the other hand you use a permeable material such as gravel or use the plastic pavers that can be filled full of soil/sand etc or fit a really good soakaway which the parking area can drain into, then you will probably be OK.
    If, however, the water gets into the storm drains, then Southern Sewage as you call them have a problem. In the old parts of Ramsgate, the drains are 19th century at best, and are owned jointly by KCC and Southern Water. Unless these old drains are dug up and replaced with new larger, more efficient pipes, there will be a problem. Parts of Margate and Broadstairs may also be in the same class.
    Climate change was predicted to create warmer summers and wetter winters, and so far, Peter C, this is being borne out by the evidence.
    We will need to build resilience into our systems, such cooler houses in summer, warmer houses in winter, tarmac roads that do not melt when temperature reach 40 degrees and drains that can contain greater levels of storm water.
    It would be so much cheaper if we stopped using fossil fuels.

    • George agreed and this will only get worse with all the housing being built meaning less ground for it to soak it up, the last 5 years has seen the heat, wnds, and rain has definitely increased, yes we have had the odd year when we had a very hot summer or a very wet and windy autumn not year on year as we are enduring now.

    • A few years ago all of Ramsgate sewers wher remediated, they are well over 100 years ols and many collapsing, Margate was also supposed to be done but is a lot bigger than Ramsgate

    • Unfortunately, despite the promises of COP 26 (25, 24, .. ) the use if fossil fuels continues to rise, world-wide.

  6. I think that the whole Victorian system should be replaced. Who cares about the disruption, undermining of properties and the cost. It will be a great thing to moan about.
    Right I’m off to protest that all of this discharge didn’t end up in my house and went into the sea….

    • They were given the money to replace them in the 1990’s & didn’t. Another great example of Tory & later Tory Bliar’s privatise everything, give them money & don’t even bother ensuring they do what they have been paid to do routine.

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