Swimmers have been warned to avoid swimming off the coast of Blackpool after sewage was released into its bathing waters. Several warnings were in place, advising swimmers not to take the plunge.
Eight stretches of beach were designated by Swimfo as advising swimmers not to bathe.
The areas included St Annes, St Annes North, Blackpool South, Blackpool Central, Blackpool North, Bishpham, Cleveleys, and Fleetwood.
Swimfo said: “This incident has been identified as an abnormal situation, and water quality monitoring has been suspended. Monitoring will resume once the incident is over.”
On Twitter, the Environment Agency North West said: “We are aware of the incident at @unitedutilities Fleetwood wastewater treatment works affecting bathing waters along the Fylde Coast.
“Our teams have been on site overnight assessing the impacts. Please check Swimfo for the latest bathing water information in your area.”
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United Utilities echoed Swimfo’s advice and advised the public not to cool off in the water off the coast of Blackpool.
In a statement, they said: “United Utilities is carrying out urgent repair work to a burst pipe which carries water after it has been treated and cleaned from Fleetwood wastewater treatment works to the sea.
“The treatment works is currently running at a reduced rate while engineers plan and carry out the repair work to the pipe which lies nine metres underground.
“Due to the location and complexity of the repair and to ensure the work is carried out safely, this is expected to take some time while engineers install 2000 metres of temporary pumps and overland pipework.
“Unfortunately, during last night’s short and sharp thunderstorms that saw nearly 40mm of rainfall in around two hours, the system temporarily reached full capacity at sites in Blackpool and untreated sewage, mixed with rainwater, was released into the sea.”
United Utilities added that they were “balancing storage levels in the wastewater network along the Fylde Coast and using tankers around the clock to help reduce pressure on the site by transporting wastewater to other treatment sites”.
Wastewater Director at United Utilities, Mark Garth, said: “This is a very unusual incident and our teams are working around the clock to minimise any impact on the environment.
“The burst occurred on a large pipe which is deep underground, making the repair complex and challenging. We are installing temporary overland pipework to bypass the burst pipe so that the treatment plant can continue to operate while the repair work is carried out.
“The reduced capacity at the treatment works and in our network as a result of this burst meant there was less storage available than normal to deal with the heavy rainfall last night.”
Mr Garth added: “This resulted in storm overflows operating. We are working closely with the Environment Agency and local councils as we respond to this.”
The latest release of sewage into the nation’s bathing areas comes after celebrities including comedians, Paul Whitehouse, Lee Mack, and Steve Coogan joined a campaign to stop sewage from being released into Lake Windermere.
Steve Coogan told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “It is a national scandal. The privatised water companies, since they’ve been privatised … have paid out £72bn in investor dividends whilst basically not maintaining the integrity of the lake.
“They should reduce it to zero, there should be no pollution in Windermere, and they are putting out a lot of obfuscation to try to dilute that message.”