'No swimming' safety advice lifted along Kent coast after sewage spill

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Credit: ITV News Meridian

Public advice not to swim in the sea along a 4-mile stretch of the North Kent coast has been lifted. Canterbury City Council put up warning signs between Tankerton and Herne Bay over the weekend, after a sewage spill on Friday (7 August).

A system fault at Southern Water's Swalecliffe Treatment Works resulted in wastewater overflowing and entering a nearby brook.

The council said: "After very careful consideration, we and the Environment Agency have agreed to remove the advice not to swim between Tankerton and Herne Bay."Public information signs are being taken down."The Environment Agency has launched an investigation into the water pollution incident at the Southern Water Brook Road combined sewer overflow in Swalecliffe last Friday."

Southern Water says teams were on site "at first light" on Saturday to carry out beach walks at Herne Bay, Tankerton and West Beach, where "minimal signs" of any waste were found.

A spokesperson from Southern Water said: "Following the electrical fault at our pumping station near to our Swalecliffe wastewater treatment works, we have undertaken regular monitoring and sampling of the entire water course from pumping station all the way to the sea.

"The latest samples from the brook confirm water quality is normal and we will continue to maintain extra specialist resources at the site.

"We notified the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Local Authority yesterday and will continue to work with them and our stakeholders in the coming days to assess and mitigate against any impact to the environment.  Ofwat and Defra have also been informed of the incident.

"Southern Water is committed to protecting the environment and part of this is being fully transparent about how we operate. No pollution is acceptable to us and we believe it is important that our customers are always fully informed. We will continue to strive to do better."

Red flags were still in place at Tankerton beach on Monday morning Credit: ITV News Meridian

The Environment Agency is continuing to investigate what happened.

In a statement on Monday the agency said: "We encourage anyone planning to take to the water this summer to first check the Swimfo website for current information on designated bathing waters.

“We also urge anyone witnessing pollution of the environment, to contact us on 0800 80 70 60.”