SEWAGE is being pumped into the River Lavant, as Southern Water tries to cope with ‘all-time high’ groundwater levels.
Pumps are in place along the river, including the villages of Charlton and Singleton.
A spokesman for Southern Water said: “We are using tankers in the catchment to take flows away for treatment but have also had to install temporary pumps to release heavily diluted wastewater, which has been filtered to remove solids, in the River Lavant to protect customers from flooding.
“We have signs in place warning people to avoid going into the river and to wash their hands if they come into contact with water as a precaution.”
One of the signs in place at the pump near Charlton stated: “Please note over-pumping of dilute screened sewage to the River Lavant is being undertaken to protect customers from flooding and lack of drainage.
“It is advised to keep pets from the watercourse in the vicinity of this discharge.
“If you have contact with the water please ensure you wash your hands before eating or drinking.
“If you gave any concerns please contact Southern Water on 0845 278 0845 quoting Ref: 14683”
The Southern Water spokesman said the company had been driven to this because of the wettest year on record in England.
“Groundwater levels in the south are at an all-time high,” he said.
“This excess water is finding its way into our sewers and overloading them.”
“Our emergency overpumping and tankering operations in the Singleton area are lowering the levels of groundwater in our sewers and reducing the risk of people’s homes and gardens flooding.”