Kent’s beaches where the most sewage has spilled

New data has revealed exactly which areas along the Kent coast saw the highest number of sewage discharges in 2023. The Environment Agency (EA) has made its findings on the scale of storm overflows that occurred last year.

Such leaks are measured by event duration monitors and 100 percent of storm overflows in the national water network are now equipped with them. In 2023, the EA recorded a total of 464,056 spills in the UK in 2023, compared to 301,091 in 2022 and 372,045 in 2021.

However, there are several factors to consider in this increase. Firstly, the Met Office recorded 2023 as the sixth wettest year since records began in 1836, with rainfall the main reason for storm flooding.

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The EA further stated: “It is important to note, however, that heavy rainfall does not affect the responsibility of water companies to manage storm overflows in accordance with legal requirements.” In addition to the extreme weather, the increased installation of monitors also makes a direct comparison between years more difficult.

Here in Kent, Whitstable, Dover and Hythe were among the areas that recorded the highest number of storm overflows in 2023. Swalecliffe Wastewater Treatment Plant recorded 118 discharges over the 12 months, totaling 923.1 hours of discharges into the North Sea.

Whitstable, Dover, Folkestone and Hythe were among the places on the Kent coast to experience the highest number of storm flooding in 2023(Image: Environment Agency)

Southern Water has confirmed plans to replace this marine outlet pipe and extend it further out to sea. It is planned that such work will be completed by the end of 2024. The water company has said that this means that “any discharge of rainwater from this pipe The water discharge – which occurs only rarely, during and after heavy rainfall as a last resort when the storm tanks are full, so that nearby homes and businesses are not flooded. ​– are further out to sea and further from local beaches and bathing waters”.