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In the span of one month, there were over 1,200 hours of raw sewage released into Chichester harbour.

Over the course of the last month, Chichester harbour has experienced over 1,200 hours of raw sewage being released into its waters. This has been deemed by activists as an attack on the natural surroundings.

The harbor in West Sussex, which is a designated AONB, has been experiencing discharges since October 24th.

The Beachbuoy system of Southern Water has provided data on sewage discharges from storm overflows in real-time. The data shows that the storm outflow at Thornham in Chichester has been releasing sewage for a total of 710 hours and five minutes between 24 October and 23 November.

In the harbor of Bosham, there was a storm overflow that had multiple discharges, with the longest one lasting 281 hours and 24 minutes from October 27 to November 8, and another lasting 213 hours and 7 minutes.

Ed Acteson, a member of SOS Whitstable, is advocating for an end to the practice of releasing untreated sewage in Kent, Sussex, and Hampshire. He expressed concern over the fact that Chichester Harbour, a popular coastal spot known for its natural beauty, has experienced over 1,200 hours of sewage contamination in less than a month. This blatant disregard for the environment is unacceptable.

There are 34 protected sites in England that are dedicated to preserving and improving the natural beauty of their wildlife.

Southern Water has identified the untreated wastewater releases as “authentic” on its Beachbuoy application, indicating its belief that they meet the requirements of permits granted by the Environment Agency. The organization is attributing the discharges to excessive precipitation caused by Storm Babet and Storm Ciarán.

The CEO of Chichester Harbour Conservancy, Matt Briers, stated that water quality testing in the harbor has revealed higher levels of pollution due to heavy rain in recent times.

This emphasizes the local infrastructure’s inability to handle the situation and emphasizes the urgent need for improvements to prevent pollution from entering the harbor due to storm overflow and runoff.

Briers expressed that the conservation organization will persist in advocating for stricter measures to regulate pollution in the ocean, which should be maintained as a preserved and natural environment.

He expressed that the group was highly troubled by the consequences of pollution in the harbor caused by human actions. This includes not only sewage contamination, but also the presence of microplastics, chemicals, and nitrates.

The AONB harbor is a crucial location for wildlife in the UK. Unfortunately, its habitats, which are already at risk, were determined to be in a state of decline in 2021. According to him, maintaining good water quality is vital for the overall well-being of the harbor, especially for the survival of its dependent wildlife.

Chichester harbour is one of three harbours where Southern Water is spending £72m on treating more wastewater and reducing storm overflows to help the natural habitats.

SOS Whitstable noted that two outfalls in Sandown, Isle of Wight also experienced a combined spillage time of over 1,380 hours during a similar time frame.

Storm Babet hit the UK on 18-20 October, with the Met Office recording the three-day period as the third wettest for England and Wales since 1891.

The storm named Ciarán occurred from 1-2 November, resulting in a significant event in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight by exacerbating pre-existing flood issues.

Acteson stated that the excessive duration of the sewage discharges will significantly harm the affected regions. Despite the recent heavy rainfall, there is no valid reason for such a high level of water pollution.

“Overflow of stormwater is intended for use in rare situations to alleviate strain on the sewage system. How can someone genuinely argue that a month of continuous sewage contamination is considered ‘rare’?”

A representative from Southern Water stated: “We are in agreement with both activists and our clients that the discharge of storm overflows is unacceptable. That is why our main focus is on decreasing these releases.”

The spokesperson clarified that these particular events were caused by prolonged periods of heavy rain. This has led to two potential scenarios – either excess surface water is flowing into our sewage systems due to oversaturated ground, or groundwater is entering our pipes due to increased pressure.

Source: theguardian.com