Town at risk of missing target

A LETTER published on April 5 raises some important points about bathing water quality in the Hastings area.

New European legislation means minimum standards for bathing water will become twice as stringent by 2015. Hastings has been identified by the Government as being at risk of failing to meet these new standards.

Bathing water quality is affected by a number of factors including heavy rain, which can lead to a deterioration as there is an increase in run-off from roads and farmland, and releases from stormwater overflows to prevent flooding. Private pumping stations, boats and even animals on the beach also have an effect.

The Environment Agency (EA) has identified wrong connections of wastewater pipes into surface water pipes as a problem. If wastewater pipes, such as those from toilets or washing machines, are wrongly connected to the surface water system, untreated wastewater is discharged directly into the sea instead of being taken by sewer to a wastewater treatment works.

These wrong connections are the responsibility of the property owner.

The EA, with support from Hastings Borough Council and Southern Water, is running a project to tackle this problem.

Southern Water has invested millions to improve the quality of the water leaving our treatment works.

We continue to work with the EA to resolve issues at the storm tank in Seaside Road. We want to prevent the system from becoming blocked by sanitary products, cleaning wipes and a build up of solidified cooking fat. During heavy rain, these blockages can cause the system to overflow with stormwater.

To help prevent these blockages we ask customers not to put sanitary products and cleaning wipes down the toilet and not to pour fat down the sink.

More information can be found at www.southernwater.co.uk/bagitbinit.

Bathing water quality is everyone’s responsibility. Multi-agency projects combined with sensible disposal of fat and sanitary items, give us the best chance of making things better.

PAUL LINWOOD

Wastewater policy manager

Southern Water