Algal bloom in Brighton seas causes ‘sewage’ panic

Posted On 09 May 2018 at 11:42 am

Algal bloom by Daniel Wheeler from Facebook


Swimmers and daytrippers alarmed by the sight of a smelly sludge floating on the waves along Brighton beach have been reassured that it’s just harmless algal bloom.

A picture of a pale brown slick taken from Brighton Pier taken by tourist Daniel Wheeler has spread far and wide on Facebook – but both Southern Water and Brighton and Hove City Council say they are confident it is just the natural phenomenon of algae reproducing when the seas become warmer.

A spokeswoman for Southern Water said: “We’ve checked all our pipes and equipment and everything is working normally. We’re continuing to work with businesses on and around the pier to ensure there are no misconnections.

“What was seen in the sea by Brighton Pier yesterday was an algal bloom – a naturally occurring algae that looks and smells pretty unpleasant but is, for the most part, harmless and not a sewage spill.

“We urge anyone who spots a potential pollution to contact us and report it, as we will always investigate any potential incidents.”

Brighton and Hove City Council said: “If you see sludgy looking stuff that doesn’t smell very nice on parts of the beach during the summer, don’t panic! It’s called algal bloom.

“It’s a natural phenomenon that happens when the sea starts to warm up and tiny creatures called algae start reproducing. The algal bloom is nothing to worry about as it is harmless.

“The algal bloom ‘season’ lasts about four weeks and then disappears again.

“If you’re concerned about something that you find on the beach please call the seafront office on 01273 292716.”

  1. Rob Reply

    Rather than telling us that they’ve checked their pipes and it’s not their problem, shouldn’t there be someone responsible for checking the affected water and giving a confirmation of what it actually is (as opposed to what they suspect it is)?

    • Brighton resident Reply

      You are correct. It is the Environment Agency who are keeping their heads down as usual.

  2. PAM Reply

    Yes as it happens at 4.30pm when the tide was going out, it was right along the same part of the beach were l live, it doesn’t make sense not totest the water, why does the sea wait till 4.30pm when it has all daythe sea never had a problem all day until that time

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