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Southern Water announces £2m investment in Faversham Creek

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Southern Water is to spend £2m improving the water quality of Faversham Creek.

The news comes after the town's MP Helen Whately wrote to the company's boss in August demanding more investment.

Faversham Creek basin
Faversham Creek basin

The firm says it will splash the cash on the Faversham Wastewater Treatment Works over the next four years to improve capacity, efficiency and reduce the number of raw sewage discharges.

In a letter to the MP, chief executive officer Ian McAulay said: "We are refurbishing the existing storm tanks to extend their life and increasing the capacity of storm water storage by bringing redundant tanks back into service.

"We are also installing automated cleaning systems in all storm water tanks to ensure any solid matter or sludge is removed to prevent odour and reduce the potential for this to be carried into any storm water discharges to the environment."

Work is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

Mrs Whately, 45, Conservative MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent, said: “I’m pleased to have helped secure this much-needed investment. The improvement work announced by Southern Water is a step in the right direction but there is still a lot of work to do.

Ian McAulay, chief executive officer of Southern Water
Ian McAulay, chief executive officer of Southern Water
Letter: Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent
Letter: Helen Whately, MP for Faversham and Mid-Kent

"The need for investment in our waste-water network is clearer than ever.

"Over the summer we saw flood water pouring into peoples’ homes, and local beaches closed for swimming because of sewage ending up in the sea. This is completely unacceptable."

She is planning to meet Southern Water later this year to "seek assurances" about where and when the money will be spent.

She added: "Along with action to improve water quality in our Environment Bill, we have an opportunity to clean up the creek and protect peoples’ homes.”

In her original letter she highlighted concerns about water quality which had increased since the company was fined for allowing almost 7,000 incidents of unpermitted sewage discharges across Kent, Hampshire and Sussex.

She said: "This is something I have raised repeatedly with Southern Water, the Environment Agency, and colleagues in Government.

Boats in the creek for the Faversham Nautical Festival 2018. Picture: Andy Payton
Boats in the creek for the Faversham Nautical Festival 2018. Picture: Andy Payton
Flooding at Faversham Creek. Picture: @GretaBarge1892/Twitter
Flooding at Faversham Creek. Picture: @GretaBarge1892/Twitter

"Local beaches have been closed to swimmers several times over the summer on account of sewage discharge. This has caused a huge amount of concern and frustration, particularly with more people choosing to holiday at home this year."

The Government's planned Environment Bill will insist water companies and the Environment Agency publish data on storm overflows every year.

Southern Water has said it will spend more than £2 billion over the next four years fixing pipes, pumping stations and sewers.

Mrs Whately, who was appointed Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury in Boris Johnson's cabinet reshuffle last month, said: "This investment is badly needed.

"This work has become all the more urgent on account of Swale council’s plans to locate significant numbers of new homes to the east of Faversham which will put even more pressure on our sewage network."

Read more: All the latest news from Faversham

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