The Solent crowned the most polluted area by Southern
Water

The Solent crowned the most polluted area by Southern Water

At the start of the bathing season, the company reemphasised its promise to slash the amount of sewage being dumped in the sea and rivers, with Romsey and Southampton among the worst affected areas.

Southern Water was responsible for at least 29,494 sewage overflows in 2023 in the South East of England, analysis by website Top of the Poops revealed.

Daily Echo: Beaches polluted in 2023. Source:Top Of The PoopsOn average, Southern Water’s systems overflowed 80.8 times daily, lasting 317,284 hours, 36.72 years, in 816 locations across the South East of England.

The findings said that one of the worst locations contaminated by Southern Water was Romsey and Southampton North, which was polluted 699 times in 2023 lasting 11,946 hours or 1.38 years.

The Solent is listed as the most polluted area by the water company and sits 16th on the list of rivers with the most sewage overflow in 2023.

Daily Echo: Solent polluted by sewage in 2023. Source:Top Of The PoopsAccording to the data, the Solent was polluted by sewage 1,550 times, lasting 16,942 hours, equivalent to 1.96 years.

In 2023, 31 sewage overflows were reported in the Solent. Pennington wastewater treatment works in Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, reported 137 sewage dumps, equivalent to 2,321 hours.

The data showed that the Kings Somborne works polluted the river Test 239 times, lasting 4,995 hours.

Daily Echo: Lee-on-the-SolentLee-on-the-Solent The Top of the Poops site also revealed that Lee-On-Solent, Stokes Bay was the 42nd most polluted bathing area in England and Wales by the duration of sewage overflows, as reported by the water companies. It was contaminated 86 times in 2023, lasting 1,401 hours.

Hillhead, on Lee-on-Solent, was also among the most polluted beaches. 

Southern Water said “it’s very important to note that the primary reason for storm overflows is rainfall, and the recent 18 months were the wettest since records began in 1836”.

Daily Echo: Southern Water sewage overflows in the South East of England in the 2023 map. Source:Top Of The PoopsThe water company said that in the region, £3bn has been spent from 2020 to 2025, and a further £7.8bn is due to be spent between 2025 and 2030. Of that, £3.3bn is set aside to help improve the environment.

To improve water quality in Hampshire, the company has invested £251m in waste and water improvements, such as £68m to improve the disinfection process at Millbrook and Slowhill Copse and stormwater storage at five sites to reduce spills into Southampton Water, protecting shellfish beds.

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