More litter picks agreed following talks over discharged Hartlepool beach waste

More litter picks have been promised following talks over discharged beach waste.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 9:58 am
Updated Monday, 20th September 2021, 10:29 am
More litter collections are to be held at Seaton Carew to remove beach waste.

Hartlepool borough councillor Sue Little has described the meeting as “quite productive” and “informative” and said Northumbrian Water agreed to undertake litter picks for “three consecutive days” after future storms.

The discussions, which also involved the Environment Agency, followed the discovery of “panty liners, wet wipes and worse” on Seaton Carew beach after the water company used a storm overflow pipe to relieve pressure on its system following August downpours.

Cllr Little said: “They realised they had to do more after storms. They realised they had to be more visible in doing litter picks.”

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Councillor Sue Little.

The meeting was also attended by Cllr Leisa Smith and Cllr Gordon Cranney.

In a statement, Northumbrian Water said the overflows are discharged at times of heavy rain and asked people not to flush wipes and sanitary products down the toilet.

A spokesperson for the water company added: "We are happy to have accepted an invitation to meet local councillors to discuss this.

“In the last Bathing Water classifications released by Defra, 33 of the North East’s 34 designated bathing waters achieved either ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ ratings, with Seaton Carew in the highest category.

"However, we understand local concerns when people find unpleasant items on the beach.

“In order to protect our customers’ homes, at times of heavy rainfall we use storm overflows as a relief valve on our sewer network.

"These discharges happen with consent from the Environment Agency and release a highly diluted mix that is largely rainwater, along with some of the contents of our sewer network from the area affected.

“Items like wipes and sanitary products absolutely should not be there, they should never be flushed down the toilet because they do not disintegrate and can cause blockages in the system, risking sewer flooding to people’s homes or pollutions.”

The overflow was discharged back in August, prompting Hartlepool pensioner Geoff Lilley, 71, to collect “panty liners, wet wipes and worse” and deposit them outside Northumbrian Water’s depot before calling the council to report himself for fly tipping in a bid to get the authorities to do more.

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Cllr Little has praised residents for undertaking their own litter picks although she says their efforts might hide the true picture by the time Northumbrian Water workers arrive.

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