Pollution Too High At Southsea Beach

New, tougher rules on water pollution could mean swimming's ruled unsafe on part of Southsea beach.

They come into effect in 2015, but recent tests have found the water near South Parade Pier is poor quality and wouldn't currently meet the new standards.

Southern Water says it's found two leaking sewage pipes could be to blame, and they'll be fixed in the next few weeks.

A statement from Southern Water said:

'Bathing water quality is affected by a range of factors including run-off from roads and farmland, private pumping stations and boats.

'The new tougher standards, which are to be met by 2015, are known as the revised Bathing Water Directive. They don't mean the quality has reduced, only that the targets to meet have increased.

'In October 2011 responsibility for private sewers, those pipes leading from customers properties to the public sewer, transferred to water companies meaning the size of our network doubled overnight to more than 40,000km.

'Since that transfer Southern Water has carried out inspections of these pipes, along with the wider network, to see where repairs may be needed. As part of these surveys in Portsmouth, two private sewers coming from South Parade Pier were found to be in poor condition and in need of repair. This work is now being planned and will be carried out in the coming weeks.'

Cllr Lee Hunt, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said:

"We are working harder than ever to improve the water quality of our beaches and it is getting better all the time.

"We have regular deep beach cleans and have never had any reports of anybody becoming sick from swimming at our beaches.

"We think that these are very stupid regulations."

Seafront manager David Evans said:

"New European regulations in water quality may mean that swimming in the sea close to South Parade Pier is not recommended.

"We don't have a problem at Eastney or in the section between Blue Reef and Clarence Parade Pier.

"A few weeks ago we made some progress, working with the Environment Agency, in finding a source of the possible water contamination directly adjacent to South Parade Pier.

"We have met with Southern Water who have already identified two pipes leading to the main sewage pipe that are damaged and in need of replacing and this work will be carried out shortly. 

"I have spoken to the South Parade Pier owners who have been very co-operative by allowing access to all areas required to complete this work"