Southern Water are considering new sewage overflow solutions following intervention by Chichester MP, Gillian Keegan, a vocal critic of the discharges that took place in Chichester Harbour over December and January. Amongst the new steps being considered by the water company are state-of-the-art ultraviolet treatment facilities in sites near the Harbour, as well as further sewer relining projects to prevent discharges occurring in the first place.
The impact of discharges into Chichester’s Harbour and surrounding bathing waters has been a persistent concern of residents in recent years, with increased monitoring of the country’s Victorian age sewer network shedding new light on the practice. December and January saw more than 700 hours of discharges into the Harbour, a situation MP Gillian called ‘hugely concerning’ in her initial letter to Southern Water Chief Executive, Lawrence Gosden.
As part of a series of subsequent talks with the water company, Gillian has since pushed for a number of bold new changes to improve the local situation. Gillian had a few words to share on the specific improvements she wanted to see looked at:
“As well as more transparent monitoring, there are two things I’ve made clear I want to see made a priority in Southern Water’s next wave of capital spending: UV treatment facilities in more of the discharge points around the Harbour and better sealing of the network.
The Thornham discharge site is currently one of the only ones around the harbour still without UV treatment, and that can go a long way to reducing levels of harmful bacteria in the water - should the worst happen.
Preventing discharges in the first place is obviously the priority, however, and modern sealing is absolutely critical in ensuring network capacity isn’t exceeded through groundwater infiltration.” She added.
Now, in a promising development, Southern Water have suggested they are open to looking at the changes.
In their latest position statement, Mr Gosden has stated the company will “consider options to capture more spot samples for prolonged spills in the future”, with UV treatment facilities around Shellfish Waters (like Chichester Harbour) and further sewer relining projects amongst the solutions being explored for their next Asset Management Plan, ‘AMP8’.”
If agreed with regulators, Environment Agency and OFWAT, the measures will form part of Southern Water’s upcoming investment plans for 2025 to 2030.
Gillian said she found the water company’s statement a “step in the right direction”:
“It’s encouraging to hear that Southern Water are taking seriously the proposals I’ve laid out in recent weeks, and that the talks we’ve been engaged in have brought a broadly positive outcome.
“We’re by no means where we want to be, but it’s a step in the right direction.” She finished
The MP will be updating Chichester residents on the latest developments at Chichester Harbour and on Southern Water’s plans over on her website and Facebook page, which can both be found below:
Gillian Keegan MP’s website: https://www.gilliankeegan.com/
Gillian Keegan MP’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/conservatives.g.keegan/