A PETITION to try to stop Southern Water dumping sewage into the sea at East Worthing has gathered more than 600 signatures.
The campaign aims to prevent emergency sewage discharges contaminating the bathing water at Lancing beach, after swimmers were advised to stay out of the water on a number of occasions.
Organiser and chairman of Lancing Regeneration Frances Smith is encouraging more people to sign the petition.
“We have a duty and must fight to stop the pollution of raw sewage being allowed to be dumped into the sea,” she wrote.
“How damaged will it be for our children and grandchildren if we don’t get people to wake up?”
Comments on the petition have shown the strength of feeling among residents and beach users.
Shoreham’s Liz Jacob wrote: “We shouldn’t be damaging the sea in this way. It’s all to easy to dump into the water. I would gladly increase my water bills to know that I am not damaging my habitat and reduce the impact we have on our environment.”
The online petition can be found by visiting www.change.org and searching ‘Lancing Southern Water’,
Hard copies are available in a number of shops and businesses in the village.
A Southern Water spokesman said: “We are aware of the prominence of the site and its importance to the town and we will always work with residents to ensure any impact is minimised.
“However, stormwater outfalls are vital to prevent flooding - similar outfalls operate up and down the UK’s coastline during heavy rain.
“Without them, sewer networks would back up flooding homes, gardens and streets.
“It’s important to stress, stormwater released out to sea is not “raw sewage”. The vast majority is rainwater.
“The bathing water in Lancing – like all the beaches in our region – is meeting strict EU standards for bathing water quality, thanks in part to millions of pounds of investment over the years.”