Southern Water insists any wastewater pumped into the sea off the Isle of Wight is diluted and screened. Its comments follow concern over the weekend that water quality at beaches, including Ryde, Sandown and Shanklin, was being affected by pumps discharging into the Solent and the English Channel, following large amounts of heavy rain.

On Friday, the pressure group Isle of Wight Surfers Against Sewage posted its concern on social media and linked its comment to an app designed to monitor water. It recorded four days of wastewater pumping on the Island’s coast.

In a statement, utility firm Southern Water told Isle of Wight Radio,

“Stormwater released out to sea is screened. It’s heavily diluted as most of it is bath water, sink water etc, before it’s further diluted by rainwater. Stormwater tanks are there to hold excess wastewater during poor weather and when these become overwhelmed, this is released into the sea.

“These are permitted releases and are there to help stop homes and properties from being flooded with sewage. Any stormwater left after stormy weather is pumped back into our wastewater treatment works – so it’s only the excess that gets released to sea.”

Southern Water is still working to provide a new stormwater tank in Shanklin. Roads have been closed to allow the work to be carried out, including at Arthur’s Hill. Its completion has been delayed because unmapped utility pipes and networks have been discovered. The firm says it hopes that its work will be finished by the end of the month.

Southern Water said,

“Water quality on the Isle of Wight has never been better since it has been measured and of the 14 bathing water beaches on the Island, three are classified as good, the rest are excellent.”