United Kingdom

Swimmers are warned not to go into the sea at East Sussex beach after sewage leak

Swimmers have been warned not to go into the sea at an East Sussex beach after a major sewage leak sent rotten waste into the water and flooded beach huts.

Rancid brown water has been swamping rows of colourful huts along Bulverhythe beach in Hastings since Wednesday evening.

The area was evacuated after a sewage pipe, which carries 540 litres of wastewater per second, first burst on Wednesday.

While emergency repair teams were dealing with the burst pipe underneath the cycle path, a second leak was discovered on Friday morning. 

Rancid brown water (pictured) has been swamping rows of colourful huts along Bulverhythe beach in Hastings since Wednesday evening after a major sewage leak

Hastings Borough Council has been forced to close the beach and visitors have also been warned not to go into the sea in the affected area.

The council is also expecting the Environment Agency to warn people against bathing at other nearby Hastings beaches while the leak is dealt with.

A spokesman for the council said: 'Hastings Borough Council is obviously very disappointed indeed that there has been a further serious sewage leak at Bulverhythe, affecting the beach huts and the beach.

'The council has had to close the beach at Bulverhythe as a result, and is advising people not to go onto the affected part of the beach, or to go into the sea there.

'We are expecting the Environment Agency to warn against bathing at other Hastings beaches.

'We obviously hope that the leak is fully repaired as quickly as possible, and that the beach is cleaned and reopened.'

The area was evacuated after a sewage pipe, which carries 540 litres of wastewater per second, first burst on Wednesday

While emergency repair teams were dealing with the burst pipe underneath the cycle path, a second leak was discovered on Friday morning 

Southern Water said it evacuated the area overnight on Wednesday following the initial burst.

It added that engineers had found the burst and identified the cause as a leaking collar, which is where two pipes join.

Teams were at the site yesterday on Thursday carrying out a further thorough clean-up, a Southern Water spokesperson confirmed.

The spokesman added: 'We have been working hard to contain and minimise a spill after a burst to a very large sewer pipe, carrying upward of 540 litres per second of wastewater, at Bulverhythe Beach on Wednesday afternoon.

'Tankers were able to maintain flows and wastewater services while the pipe was turned off to start the repairs.

'Unfortunately early this morning we reached our network storage capacity in the area and took the tough decision to turn the pumping station back on to support control of the network and increase storage to allow more time to complete the repairs.

Hastings Borough Council has been forced to close the beach and visitors have also been warned not to go into the sea in the affected area

'This did mean we split from the original burst location for a second time, but after careful consideration it was determined this would minimise impact to the environment and beach.

'We are working closely with the Environment Agency and Hastings Borough Council on the matter. 

'This decision was taken to prevent properties from flooding and mitigate against risk of further spills elsewhere.

'No pollution is acceptable to our customers or us and we apologise for the disruption this may have caused. 

'We are committed to making the repair as quickly as possible and to minimising impact on the environment.'

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