Argument for Sunderland Point sewerage pipe may not hold water

Residents of Sunderland Point have protested over plans to put an outfall sewerage pipe in the village

Residents of Sunderland Point have protested over plans to put an outfall sewerage pipe in the village

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Plans to put a new outfall sewerage pipe near Sunderland Point may be changed after residents complained it would make them “the toilet of Morecambe”.

The Environment Agency says other sites are being looked at for the controversial pipe, including Middleton Sands.

The outfall pipe discharges fully treated and disinfected effluent from Morecambe Wastewater Treatment works.

It currently comes out at coastal waters at Middleton but is at risk of being blocked by mobile sands, so United Utilities wanted to relocate it to the Lune Estuary near the small village of Sunderland Point.

But Jez Westgarth, Environment Agency Environment Manager, said: “We are currently reviewing United Utilities’ proposals.

“The Environment Agency’s role is to protect people and the environment. All discharged waste water needs to meet appropriate water quality standards to ensure it does not have a negative impact on people or the environment. We will continue to provide advice to United Utilities so that they can make a final decision on their plans.”

The plans are part of a United Utilities water quality improvement scheme to reduce the number of times the storm overflow at Schola Green Pumping Station discharges to the sea during periods of heavy rainfall. Steve Wong, United Utilities senior project coordinator, said: “We are working closely with the Environment Agency on this project and hope to meet them soon to finalise plans for this work.

“Once we have the details, we’ll arrange to update local people at Sunderland Point. We understand their concerns and are fully committed to finding a mutually acceptable solution.”

Margaret Owen, a resident of Sunderland Point, said: “United Utilities told us the ball is in the Environment Agency’s court .”

Meanwhile the water quality in the River Lune has come under fire from the Environment Agency.

The lower Lune between Lancaster and Morecambe Bay in particular has a poor rating, following tests of the river’s water quality carried out over the summer of 2014.

In the later part of 2014, United Utilities carried out extensive work to the city’s sewer system, which the water company said would help to make a big improvement to the quality of the Lune.

Also, a local scheme to freshen up septic tanks has earned a £50,000 cash boost.

Morecambe Bay Partnership, alongside the Lune Rivers Trust, will co-ordinate the project funded by a United Utilities Catchment Wise grant. Septic tanks are miniature sewage treatment works which store and treat the waste of homes which are not connected to the public sewer network.