Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Untreated sewage enters Hampshire's River Itchen

River Itchen in Brambridge, Eastleigh
Image caption The sewage has affected the River Itchen in Brambridge, an area popular with fishermen and dog walkers

Untreated sewage has entered a river in Hampshire after "operational problems" at a pumping station, Southern Water has confirmed.

It has affected the River Itchen in Brambridge, Eastleigh, an area popular with fishermen and dog walkers.

Southern Water said recent exceptional rainfall may have affected the pumps.

The Environment Agency said it was monitoring the situation and was "working closely" with Southern Water to resolve the issue.

Southern Water removes wastewater from Otterbourne and Brambridge.

It is carried to a pumping station in Brambridge, where it is sent to a treatment works before being "safely recycled" back into the environment.

'Wastewater to overflow'

A Southern Water spokesman said: "We have identified some operational problems at the pumping station in Brambridge, which, regrettably, has resulted in some wastewater entering a tributary of the River Itchen via a manhole.

"Our initial investigations show that the pumps may not have not been operating as they should at all times which has caused some wastewater to overflow from the manhole."

The company said ammonia levels in samples taken from the watercourse were "very low". It is investigating the cause of the incident.

The Environment Agency said officers had already visited the site to "ensure that there is no damage to the environment."

"The problems have been caused recently by an electrical fault tripping the pumps out, this has been exacerbated by the wet weather," a spokesman added.

"Southern Water have managed to resume pumping at the station, however there is a possibility that small amounts of diluted sewage had been escaping into the nearby watercourse and land."

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