MP Mark Menzies says he has met Steve Mogford, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Utilities to discuss our local bathing waters, flooding and pollution. MP Menzies states that he made clear to the CEO the need to ensure the local bathing waters meet the highest standard. The Fylde MP says he also took the opportunity to make the case for accelerating investment in Fylde to tackle flooding and pollution.
This comes after the heavy rainfall in May 2022 led to United Utilities pumping sewage on three separate occasions (4th May, 6th May and 17th May) into the sea off St. Anne’s North. As a consequence, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs issued a warning to beachgoers to stay away from the waves, and not to go into the water.
At the time a United Utilities Spokesperson said, ‘The sewer network is built in such a way that when there is heavy rain, there is a risk of flooding at our waste water treatment works. If there’s a risk of those being overwhelmed, we have permission to discharge storm water to relieve that in order to avoid flooding.’
United Utilities have a significantly higher proportion of combined sewers than any other water company. Over 54% of their public sewers combine foul and surface water (compared to an industry average of 33%). Combined sewers respond quicker to a storm with the capacity filling up more quickly when compared to more separate systems. United Utilities have 25% more sewer overflows than the industry average.
The company say that storm overflows are an important part of the sewerage network and include combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and storm tank discharges. These act as a pressure relief valve when there is too much rainfall, allowing rain water, mixed with sewage, to rise inside the sewer and eventually enter a separate pipe which flows into a river or the sea. Sewers operate this way to help prevent the flooding of streets, homes and businesses. The Company says that when they use storm overflows, these can sometimes affect river and bathing water quality, adding ‘albeit temporarily’.