A total power failure at Southern Water’s Sussex wastewater treatment works caused untreated wastewater to flow into the sea.
The power failure in Eastbourne was first reported to Southern Water on Saturday morning (July 27).
Jason Aldred, head of waste recycling at Southern Water, said: “Our engineering teams worked with our energy network provider and power was restored in the afternoon. Our teams then continued to work in very difficult conditions to fully restore the site. In particular it has been a challenge to restore the odour scrubbers which remove residual smell from the mainly underground facility’s air vents.
“As a result of this incident flows of untreated wastewater did pass out of our sea outfall. The local council and Environment Agency were informed and we are working closely with them. Our scientists have been taking samples and conducting tests to assess what environmental impact this incident has had.
“We’d like to apologise for this incident. The power failure was unforeseeable but no spill is acceptable to our customers or to us.”
In an email to Eastbourne councillors, policy manager Charlie Palmer said until power was restored wastewater was flowing through the medium and short sea outfalls.