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Blockage of wet wipes caused the sewage spill into the sea off Herne Bay, keeping bathers out of the water for three days

By Chris Price

Wet wipes flushed down the loo have been blamed for a sewage leak which turned the sea off Herne Bay into a no-go area for three days.

Southern Water has asked people not to put non-biodegradable items down the toilet after discovering the cause of the pollution leak.

It was traced back to a blocked sewer after a manhole was reported to be overflowing north of Eddington Lane, on Wednesday, August 21.

Many beach goers still went into the water at Herne Bay despite warnings about pollution

Many beach goers still went into the water at Herne Bay despite warnings about pollution

The sewage had leaked into the Plenty Brook which joins the sea adjacent to the Neptune car park.

The blockage affected Herne Bay beach for most of last week after the sea was seen to have discoloured on Tuesday evening.

The council put up warning signs telling bathers not to go into the water from Wednesday to Friday.

Southern Water cleared the blockage.

“We ask customers to help keep their drains clear and our sewers running freely by only flushing pee, poo and paper down the loo..." - Southern Water's Karen Hoy

Spokesperson Karen Hoy said: “We take our responsibility to the environment seriously and we are extremely disappointed by the incident.

“We ask customers to help keep their drains clear and our sewers running freely by only flushing pee, poo and paper down the loo and to tip cooled cooking fat, oil and grease into the bin and not down sinks or into dishwashers as they solidify in drains and sewers which cause blockages.

“We traced the problem to a blockage in the nearby sewer and used a mini jetter to clear a blockage of wet wipes and other non-biodegradable items.

“This operation got the sewer running freely and stopped the liquid coming out of the manhole.

“A second CCTV survey showed that while the main blockage was removed, there was still a coating of solidified fat, oil and grease inside the pipe.

“We sent a heavy jetter to the site, which is our most powerful jetter, to clear this coating.
“We have taken another CCTV survey of the pipe and are waiting the results of this.”

 


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