Raw sewage and dead rats pumped onto UK beach



Sewage and dead rats have been washed up on a beach in Hampshire, prompting an apology from Southern Water.

The waste has been pouring from the company's outfall pipe at Fort Cumberland in Portsmouth after heavy rain inundated the sewage system.

The screens that filer the sewage items are currently inadequate and the recent storms overwhelmed them.

Louise MacCallum, the environment officer for Langstone Harbour, said she had been left shocked during her patrols.

She told The Hayling News: "There's been sewage washed up on the shoreline regularly since Christmas.

"It's been very unsightly – sanitary towels, sanitary products and drowned sewer rats. When you have a beach and it's covered in rats – I have been shocked.

"At the end of the day, Langstone Harbour is an internationally-important place for wildlife conservation.

"To see this kind of thing happening is really sad."

Southern Water is currently carrying out work to prevent the leaks from Fort Cumberland and spending £10m on new equipment, but the work is not due to be finished until 2015.

A spokesman for Southern Water told Hayling.co.uk: "The sheer amount of water falling on already saturated ground has overwhelmed the system.

"So, to prevent stormwater backing up and causing flooding, it has been released to Langstone Harbour – as per our Environment Agency permit.

"While this emergency measure is standard practice in extreme wet weather, we are making major improvements in the area to reduce the risk of emergency releases like this, including a £20m scheme to divert rainwater away from some of Portsmouth's sewers.

Geoff Loader, director of Southern Water, told the BBC: "We have screens at Fort Cumberland that remove this debris from the wastewater - but they were initially damaged in a storm a couple of years ago.

"A complete rebuilding process at that plant was overtaken by the weather before it could be completed."

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