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'It's safe to go back in the water': Swimming ban lifted at Thanet beaches after sewage from Foreness Point and Broadstairs pumped into sea

30 July 2014
by KentOnline reporter

Nine Thanet beaches have been reopened to swimmers this afternoon having been given the all-clear after sewage was pumped into the sea.

Thanet council said people can safely enter the water again on all beaches between Walpole Bay and Dumpton Gap.

It comes after a sea outfall discharge from the Southern Water Sewerage Pumping Stations at Foreness Point and Broadstairs overnight on Monday.

A warning to bathers at Joss Bay in Thanet

A warning to bathers at Joss Bay in Thanet

The temporary ban was enforced yesterday as a precaution while checks were carried out.

Cllr Mike Harrison, from Thanet District Council, said: "The lifting of this ban is excellent news. As an area that thrives on tourism, preventing people from swimming in the sea off our coast is clearly something we want to avoid.

"However when site observations indicate an immediate impact on the beach, we have an absolute duty of care to protect the public. This is a message we will be repeating once again to senior representatives from Southern Water."

The council aims to meet Southern Water bosses to seek strong assurances and discuss possible longer term solutions.

The warning had covered the following beaches: Walpole Bay; Palm Bay; Botany Bay; Kingsgate Bay; Joss Bay; Stone Bay; Viking Bay; Louisa Bay and Dumpton Gap.

Parts of the beaches are now inaccessible. File picture Joss Bay Surf School

Parts of the beaches are now inaccessible. File picture: Joss Bay Surf School

Businesses across the beaches had been fuming at the latest in a series of discharges - as the mercury is set to nudge 25C on a busy summer day.

Just a couple of months ago, nine beaches were shut after a similar spillage

Signs were displayed at each of the beaches affected advising members of the public not to enter the area of beach below the high water mark.

Council officers had been out on site around the Thanet coastline to monitor the impact.

In a statement released by Southern Water, the firm said it released heavily diluted stormwater through the outfalls at Foreness Point Pumping Station in Margate during storms on Monday, to prevent homes and businesses flooding.

"As the intensity of the rainfall increased, the site’s stormwater storage tanks – which hold 12 million litres of stormwater – filled up..." - Southern Water

The spokesman said: "The stormwater, the vast majority of which was rainwater, was screened and the site operated as it should – and as approved by the Environment Agency.

"The pumping station was working correctly and initially pumping hundreds of litres per second away for treatment.

"However, as the intensity of the rainfall increased, the site’s stormwater storage tanks – which hold 12 million litres of stormwater – filled up.

"The site operated as designed, first releasing screened stormwater through the 2km long sea outfall, then through the 600m short sea outfall."

The firm's Broadstairs pumping station was also said to have had high volumes of storm water.

Southern Water staff are monitoring beaches in the area. 

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