United Utilities confirm sewage discharges on three Merseyside beaches

One of the beaches affected is in Southport. Credit: ITV Granada

People are being warned not to swim in the sea at three Merseyside beaches following reports of sewage discharges in the area.

United Utilities confirmed to ITV Granada Reports that there had been sewage discharges at Moels, Moreton and Southport beaches.

The company said this was a safety measure to prevent sewage backing up in people's homes.

The Surfers Against Sewage also reported sewage discharge alerts on 24 July. This was after heavy rainfall in parts of Merseyside.

Families together on Blackpool beach, which has recently been impacted. Credit: ITV News

A spokesperson for United Utilities said: “The North West experienced exceptionally heavy rain over the weekend and as a result some storm overflows operated as they are designed and permitted to.

“Storm overflows operate when there has been very heavy rain and combined sewers are inundated with rainwater.

"At these times, overflows act as a safety valve that stops sewers backing up and flooding homes and businesses.

“We are committed to delivering a step change in performance to reduce the operation of storm overflows.

"We have already achieved a 40% reduction since 2020 but we know there is more to do and we are planning a £3 billion programme of work across the North West to tackle the issue.

"We have been granted approval to fast track £1.5 billion of environmental improvements over the next two years."

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

United Utilities has recently dropped from a four star rating to three in a report published by the Environment Agency on water companies environmental performance.

The four star rating system is used to measure the environmental performance of England’s nine water and sewerage companies.

The drop for United Utilities has seen them fall from four star (industry leading) to three star (good). This was due to the company’s performance around permit compliance.

Blackpool beach has also recently been impacted by sewage discharges. Credit: PA Images

United Utilities achieved 98.5% for permit compliance, which has to be above 99% and green for a water company to achieve a four star rating as the Environment Agency continues to expect better performance in this area.

Residents in Blackpool have also had issues with 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.

On Thursday 29 June, Blackpool Council announced that restrictions against swimming in the water had been lifted.

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