Worthing Borough Council’s Environment and Regeneration chiefs have demanded improved water quality checks from Southern Water in a bid to protect its coastline from pollution.
Councillor Vicki Wells also criticised the company after it changed its testing criteria, making it harder for the public to interpret a sewage pollution event.
The Members were responding to Southern Water’s Draft Waste Water Management Plan - which was a consultation designed to set out the investments needed to make wastewater and drainage systems fit for the future.
As a result of the consultation, the councillors have called on Southern Water to:
- Take action to address recent sewage discharges as a matter of urgency
- Ensure all outfalls are equipped with operationally functioning Event Monitors or other sensors that are checked and maintained regularly
- Ensure that communication with Council Environmental Officers and Foreshore Wardens is prompt and informative
- Help reduce surface water runoff overwhelming the the Combined Sewer System
- Provide the Coastal Office team with free sample test kits enabling first response of suspected leaks at outfalls following advisory guidance from Southern Water.
Under questioning from Adur & Worthing councillors in January, Southern Water vowed to clean up its act by agreeing to explore a series of measures to cut down on its dumping of raw sewage into the sea and rivers.
The company was fined a record £90 million in July 2022 after the company admitted 6,971 illegal spills from 17 sites in Hampshire, Kent and West Sussex between 2010 and 2015 and told councillors its record in dumping raw sewage in the sea and rivers is 'unacceptable'.