A water company has said it has been forced to release wastewater into the sea to prevent widespread flooding.

A fault at Southern Water’s pumping station in Sea Road, Littlehampton, today has threatened a back up in the town’s sewer system and potential flooding to the town’s homes and businesses.

To prevent this from happening, the water company are releasing the wastewater through an outfall 100 metres out to sea.

The issue has been caused by a sheared bolt within the pumping station’s mechanisms.

A Southern Water spokesman said: “To prevent widespread flooding of homes and businesses in Littlehampton we are releasing wastewater into the sea following an issue at our Sea Road Pumping Station.

“Wastewater would normally flow into the station and then be pumped away for treatment.

“However, a sheared bolt on an underground valve is preventing the wastewater going through the works and this risks the sewer system backing up and causing flooding in the town.

“To prevent this happening, and to ensure customers can continue to use their toilets, washing machines and showers, we are releasing these flows through an outfall 100 metres out to sea.

“We have crews on site setting up a temporary pumping station to bypass the damaged valve and allow flows to be transferred to the treatment works as normal while the valve is repaired.

“We also have other staff on the beach to clear up if any debris washes back to the shore.”