Southern Water apologises ‘unreservedly’ for Margate sewage pollution

'Margate - We're sorry' was the message from Southern Water after it was fined £200,000 last week for Environmental Permit breaches that led to raw sewage being discharged into the sea at Margate.

The incidents, which date from between January and June 2011, have been attributed by Southern Water to defective pumps at its Foreness Point pumping station. The failure of the pumps meant that sewage could not be pumped to Weatherlees Works for treatment and was instead discharged into the sea off Margate.

The £200,000 was imposed last week at Canterbury Crown Court after the company pleaded guilty to the charges back in July. At that time, the case, brought by the Environment Agency, was referred to the Crown Court as the magistrates felt their powers of sentence were not high enough for the offence.

Southern Water director Geoff Loader accepted that “failures within our plant are not acceptable. We fully understand the importance of water quality to the reputation of Thanet as a leading tourist resort in the UK and will always work to protect and enhance that.” He also pointed out that, despite the permit breach, Margate Beaches continued to meet European quality standards.

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