Open water swimmers capture 'sewage' overflowing from manhole cover into Southampton's River Itchen

Campaigners took this photograph of the overflowing manhole.

Open water swimmers say they witnessed raw sewage flowing into the River Itchen in the run up to Christmas.

A manhole cover was pictured overflowing along Kiln Lane in Brambridge, with witnesses saying sewage was being discharged.

Those who swim further downstream of the river say they are concerned about the harm that is being done and that this may happen again.

Walter Tuttlebee, swimmer, said: "It just seems ridiculous, the amount of times that sewage is being discharged into our rivers.

"Here we're at a Site of Special Scientific Interest and we've got water coming out of a manhole cover in the middle of the road flooding down into the river and that can't be right."

Rachel Whitfield, Hampshire Open Water Swimmers, said: "There's condoms, sanitary towels and toilet tissue and I'm really sorry about the impact that's having on local wildlife and as well on people who swim in the river and walk their dogs here, it can't be healthy for anybody.

"I feel that Southern Water ought to take some steps to ensure that this is resolved."

In a statement a spokesperson from Southern Water said: "Following reports this week about flooding from a manhole in Brambridge, we took immediate action by carrying out checks at the site and at nearby Kiln Road Pumping Station.

"The issue was fixed as quickly as possible.

"We are aware of longer-term problems at Brambridge especially during heavy rain which is why we’re planning to deliver a new scheme to allow a greater volume of flows and reduce flooding and pollution events.

"We are very sorry for any inconvenience and upset caused."