Shocking footage has shown "sewage" spewing out of a manhole cover and on to the beach with passers-by saying it is “destroying” the natural environment.

Dirty water bubbled up from the manhole cover and spewed over a walkway and onto pebbles the beach below.

Southern Water say they inspected the manhole cover and “couldn’t find any signs of pollution”.

Claire Robertson, an ecologist, filmed what she saw when she was walking along the Undercliff Pass in Saltdean on Tuesday, March 5.

Claire, 31, who now lives in Oxford but grew up in Lewes, said the sight of sewage bubbling up onto the beach “horrifying”.

She said what she saw was "sewage".

She said: “I have grown up swimming on those beaches every summer and I have never seen anything like that.

“It’s awful for everyone who uses the beach and the water. It just shouldn’t happen, ever.

“If you put that in the water you are destroying that ecosystem.

The Argus: Sewage spewing onto Saltdean beachSewage spewing onto Saltdean beach (Image: Claire Robinson)

“These problems are only going to get worse. Southern Water shouldn’t be rewarded for that.”

Claire said that she saw the sewage while walking along the Undercliff Pass in Saltdean on Tuesday evening. She filmed what she saw and reported it to Southern Water.


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She added that she did not think that Southern Water shareholders should be “rewarded” for the company’s current performance. Thousands of people have been affected by sewage being pumped into seas, gardens, streets and waterways across Sussex.

A Southern Water spokesman said the manhole cover in Saltdean was inspected on March 5 and that they “could not find any sign of pollution”.

The Argus: The manhole cover bubbling with waterThe manhole cover bubbling with water (Image: Claire Robinson)

He added: “We are continuing to monitor this issue closely.

“We take reports of pollution very seriously and are investigating this matter. We’d like to thank the member of the public who brought this to our attention.”

Southern Water previously said they had not paid dividends to their shareholders since 2017 and did not anticipate paying any until the end of the March 2025 regulatory period.