BEACHGOERS were ordered to keep out of the sea after a sewage pipe cracked causing human waste to be released into the water.
Northumbrian Water and Hartlepool Borough Council issued what they described as a “precautionary warning” to visitors to Seaton Carew beach due to the sewer main suffering a fracture.
Residents of the Redcar area were issued the same warning.
The incident came to light when workers from the BOC Chemicals compound on PD Ports land at Seal Sands, noticed surface flooding.
Northumbrian water was contacted and engineers were sent to the scene.
While tankers cleaned up escaped waste at the site, a connection was made to divert sewage to another sewer at Cargo Fleet, in Middlesbrough, so the affected pipe could be drained and fixed.
Waste had to be released into the River Tees for around three hours during high tide, which have in turn flowed into the sea, sparking the warning for people not to go into the waters of Seaton Carew and Redcar.
The repair completion on the pipe – which is believed to have been damaged by possible ground movement – was expected to be completed last night.
A spokesman for Northumbrian Water said: “We were able to minimise any environmental impact and we have done that by using massive sewer pipes in Middlesbrough to store the flows.
“We had to discharge into the River Tees for about three hours.
“We were helped by the dry weather conditions because the pipes have more capacity. If there had been a lot of heavy rain they would have been more full.
“Discharge into the river was around the time of high tide, so there was maximum dilution and minimum impact.
“It did not have much or any impact on bathing waters at Seaton Carew or Redcar.”
Hartlepool Borough Council issued a warning for members of the public to stay out of the water at Seaton Carew and said that notices would be put up about the situation.
A spokesman for the council said: “Due to a fracture in a sewer main, people were advised not to bathe in the water at Seaton Carew.”
For any further information telephone (0800) 807060.