Blackpool residents demand action over sewage pumped into sea on Fylde coast

Residents attended a meeting on Wednesday 28 June to discuss concerns about sewage on the Fylde coast. Credit: ITV News

Residents in Blackpool are demanding clarity from United Utilities over sewage on the Fylde coast.

The water company say the 'pollution incident' saw the sewage, mixed with rainwater, released into the sea after a pipe burst on Monday 12 June during a storm.

However, on Thursday Blackpool Council announced that restrictions against swimming in the water had been lifted.

The council said modelling and regular testing has been carried out on the waters, which has led to the EA lifting restrictions.

At a meeting in Thornton-Cleveleys on Wednesday, 28 June, a spokesperson for the 'Blackpool and the Fylde Coast Sea Users United Against Raw Sewage in Our Seas' group said: "People rely on people coming into the town.

"If the sea smells of sewage, it's not going to be good for our local businesses."

Another resident said: "How quickly is this problem going to be solved and how quickly can we start using our facilities in the sea again?"

Due to the location and complexity of the repair and to ensure the work is carried out safely, it is expected to take some time while engineers install temporary pumps and 2,000 metres of overland pipework.

United Utilities is balancing storage levels in the wastewater network along the Fylde Coast and using tankers around the clock to help reduce pressure on the site by transporting wastewater to other treatment sites.

Mark Garth, director of waste water treatment at United Utilities said: "We've got 200 engineers from across Europe helping to fix the pipe and will spend whatever it takes to get this pipe up and running as quickly as possible.

"We have a plan that we want to invest nearly £3 billion over five years from 2025 to 2030 in storm overflows in the North West.

"That will make really good progress on reducing storm overflows."

Mark Garth from United Utilities

Meanwhile, Thames Water could be nationalised by the government as it reportedly lies on the brink of collapse, in the face of a debt pile said to be worth £14bn.

United Utilities say they hope work to fix the pipe will be finished by the weekend, so that people can go back to enjoying the beaches properly.

The company says is up to the Environment Agency to decide when it is appropriate to change their advice on whether the water is safe for swimming.

The Environment Agency is currently urging people not to swim in the sea on the Fylde coast. Credit: ITV News

Information on all 424 designated bathing water sites and any forecasted drops in water quality are published on the Swimfo: Find a Bathing Water website.

This provides immediate access to information on every bathing water in England.

Construction of the temporary overland pipework means that the neighbouring Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve is closed to the public until further notice.

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