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Filth pumped into beauty spot yet again

The Langstone Harbour sea defences which run along the Eastern Road in Portsmouth.

Picture: Steve Reid

Published in the Portsmouth News on Thursday 11th August 2011 

RAW sewage has been pumped into Langstone Harbour by a water firm in yet another pollution incident.

Unscreened sewage was discharged into the harbour from an outfall pipe at Fort Cumberland, Eastney, after the screens that normally filter the sewage became blocked.

Southern Water, which said it had spent £100,000 last year repairing the screening system, has now said it cannot guarantee the problem will be fixed until 2015.

The sewage was pumped into the beauty spot from 10.15am last Thursday until 5pm following a period of heavy rain.

The Langstone Harbour Board has recorded it as a pollution incident.

It comes after Southern Water was fined £50,000 in April for 36 illegal discharges last year.

The Environment Agency, which is investigating, says the firm is not allowed to release unscreened sewage.

Irene Grant, of The Kench, Hayling, was angry as she went for her daily swim and Southern Water staff were collecting sewage along the shoreline.

She said: ‘For heaven’s sake this is the 21st century and this should not be happening.

‘They don’t need fines – they need to get their act together and stop this pollution happening.’

Louise MacCallum, environment officer for Langstone, said: ‘It contains the kind of things you don’t really want

washing up on the beach. There are wildlife concerns for things like ingestion and entanglement.’

A statement from Southern Water said: ‘During severe weather the heavy flows of water can cause the screens to block with debris, causing the flows to be diverted into the harbour without being screened.

‘On Thursday, such an incident occurred as the site struggled to cope with flows of 13,000 litres of water a second.

‘We sent staff to remove debris from the harbour to help minimise the impact of the incident.

‘Plans for significant investment into Fort Cumberland to provide a long-term solution are under way.’

A spokesman said the firm works on a five-year programme and the improvements have been earmarked to be done by 2015. He added: ‘It’s something that could be done next year. By 2015 it will definitely be completed.’

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