Councils have demanded answers from Southern Water following a major sewage release into the sea.

The water company said that two pumps failed at its Shoreham wastewater treatment works due to an electrical fault late on Tuesday night.

Adur and Worthing Councils were told this meant it was unable to release treated waste through its long sea outfall pipe so it instead released screened wastewater through its short sea outfall pipe, which is located around 500m offshore in the Shoreham Harbour area.

Wastewater screening involves the removal of solids up to a certain size, such as rags, paper and plastic from the initial source before it enters the treatment plant.

Southern Water said it had carried out emergency works throughout the night to resolve the issue. However, waste is expected to remain in the area’s coastal waters until around 11am today.

The incident is affecting the whole coastline around Shoreham including the River Adur and potentially Worthing.

The company said it is investigating for any potential environmental impact and apologised for the leak.

Visitors continue to be urged not to go into the water at this time and to take care on the beach in case waste has been washed ashore.

The Environment Agency has been informed about the leak, the council said.

Read more: Swimmers warned 'do not go into the water' after 11-hour sewage release

Adur and Worthing Councils are now demanding answers from Southern Water over the incident.

Councillor Emma Evans, Adur’s cabinet member for the environment and leisure, said: “It’s deeply concerning that another leak has occurred in the area which could put our residents, visitors and animals at risk. We are demanding answers from Southern Water and assurances that this will not happen again.”

Councillor Vicki Wells, Worthing’s cabinet member for the environment, said: “I would like to know what caused the electrical issues at the Shoreham wastewater treatment works and expect assurances that they are being addressed urgently.

“I expect wastewater infrastructure to be robust - our communities and environment shouldn’t suffer as a consequence of ailing equipment. It’s unacceptable for the area’s coastline to be polluted by releases of sewage because pumps have failed.”

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Southern Water’s live sewage outfall map, called Beachbuoy, recorded a ten hour 55 minute release between 7.01pm last night and 5.56am on Wednesday.

It comes amid recent bathing water tests by the Environment Agency for the whole country. The tests were for intestinal enterococci and E coli, both bacteria found in human faeces.

Worthing got a "good" rating, while Shoreham and Southwick both got an "excellent rating".