UNTREATED sewage has poured into the sea, shutting down several beaches.

Swimmers were warned to keep away after a power failure at a Southern Water’s sewage treatment works caused waste to flood into the sea around Eastbourne.

Beaches in the town and in Pevensey Bay remained closed yesterday.

It is understood the sewage dispersed 12 kilometres each way after the spill, meaning it could have reached as far west as Seaford.

A spokesman for Southern Water said the “unexplained” power cut had allowed untreated waste to spill into the sea via an outfall.

The spokesman said: “Works to continue carrying out the necessary repairs at our wastewater treatment site in Eastbourne are ongoing.

“This follows an unexplained total power failure on Saturday which resulted in untreated wastewater being released via our sea outfall.

“The power failure was unforeseeable but no spill is acceptable to our customers or to us. Our teams worked around the clock and in very difficult conditions to restore the site on Saturday afternoon – no untreated wastewater has been released since then.

“We will continue to liaise with the local council, the Environment Agency, and speak with beach-goers as we continue to carry out our works, and take samples from the site to assess any impact.”

A spokesman for Eastbourne Borough Council said red flags had been placed on the beach to warn swimmers to stay out of the water.

He said: “The council were notified by Southern Water on Saturday that there had been a sewage leak. We were advised to warn people against swimming at this time.

“Our lifeguards raised the red flag, put up signs and spoke to people on the beach.”

An Environment Agency spokesman said: “This is an ongoing incident and the Environment Agency is working with Southern Water and Lewes and Eastbourne Councils to help prevent damage to the local environment and bathing waters. We are also working to understand the scale of discharge and why this incident has occurred.”

  • UPDATE: Both Eastbourne and Pevensey Bay beaches have now been declared safe to swim in by the Environment Agency.