Protesters are set to take to the streets of a Kent town to demand an end to wastewater releases along the county’s coastline.
Demonstrators from Save our NHS in Kent (Sonik) will march through Margate on Saturday calling for Southern Water to stop its discharges.
This comes after a power outage at the under-fire firm’s pumping station in Broadstairs saw “unscreened wastewater” flow into the sea October 5.
Advice not to swim off 14 beaches between Margate and Ramsgate remained in place for as many as 10 days – with Joss Bay being the last to reopen.
A Sonik spokesman told KentOnline: “These discharges pose an enormous risk to public health — they must be stopped.
“It’s absolutely not enough to just fine them.
“This company and others like them, should be taken under public control immediately and be held directly accountable for the impact of their actions on our health and environment.
“We need to protest against this company in the strongest terms.”
The Environment Agency has this week confirmed it has launched an investigation into Southern Water over a spillage on Thanet shores over the summer.
A lightning strike in June caused a power failure at the company’s Foreness pumping station, causing raw sewage to be dumped into the sea.
It resulted in the closure of 11 beaches across the Thanet coast, with the district council receiving £100,000 from Southern Water in compensation.
An Environment Agency spokesman told KentOnline: “Once we have completed our investigations, we will decide on what further action is appropriate.
“As this is an ongoing investigation we can't comment any further at this time. We take our responsibility to protect the environment very seriously.
"Water companies have a legal duty, to avoid pollution and must act quickly to reduce any damage that happens as a result of their activities."
Southern Water was slapped with a record £90 million fine in July after unleashing up to 21 billion litres of sewage into protected water between 2010 and 2015.
District council leader Ash Ashbee also revealed that the local authority was not notified of this month’s incident, as she expressed her frustration with there being yet more spillages.
She said: “My understanding is an electrical failure occurred at 8.45am and a back-up generator was not working.
“Due to the need for a qualified electrician to isolate the problem the site could not come back online until 10.30am.
“During that period unscreened waste water was discharged into the sea. The council was not notified of this discharge by Southern Water, and (it was) in fact identified by a Thanet officer.
“As I’ve said previously, this is totally unacceptable and simply should not have happened.
“Any organisation that relies on a power supply to operate any vital part of their infrastructure should have back-ups that are fully tested and ready for operation."
Cllr Ashbee has asked for MPs to speak on the issue in Parliament and says the council has sent letters to the Environment Agency on the issue.
The protesters will meet at Margate Harbour Steps at 12pm.
Southern Water has been approached for comment.