Swimmers told to stay off Sussex holiday beach after sewage pumps blunder

Blocked pipes blunder means thousands of tonnes of sewage is pumped onto Sussex holiday beachGetty

Tourists and swimmers visiting the Worthing beach in West Sussex are being warned to stay out of the sea after a water company began pumping sewage into the English Channel.

The BBC reports that Southern Water said pumps at its East Worthing wastewater treatment works became blocked on Saturday night.

Filtered sewage is being discharged through the storm overflow over half a mile out to sea. A fleet of 25 tankers is taking the rest of the sewage to the company's other treatment works.

Southern Water says it is working round the clock to get the pumps working again. Speaking to the BBC, spokesman Paul Kent said: 'We anticipate that we will have a pump running this evening which will actually stop the discharge going out to sea and bring it back under control.'

'Once we have done that, we can take a step back and look at what has caused the problem and what can we do to minimise that happening in the future.'

Campaign director for Surfers Against Sewage, Andy Cummin, said it was worrying and disappointing.

He said: 'It is not just waste water - it is raw, untreated sewage.

'All of the pathogens associated with hepatitis A, E.coli and meningitis are getting discharged into the sea.

'We would like to see Southern Water having back-up pumps in place so when there is a blockage there is a spare pump to take the load rather than discharge sewage out to sea.'

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