The Langstone Harbour Board takes water quality extremely seriously. As an organisation, we recognise that our harbour users want peace of mind and assurance that contact with the water will not cause them or wildlife any harm. The Harbour Board has a policy of engagement with harbour users, regulators, and operators and see it as a priority to engage at all levels to ensure suitable progress is made.
While it is recognised that harbour waters are not designated for bathing, and may not achieve this status, the level of exposure to harbour water experienced by some users closely matches that of bathers. As such, the Environment Agency routinely tests the Harbour water for parameters including bacterial and heavy metal content. The Environment Agency is also responsible for investigating any pollution incidents which may occur in Langstone Harbour.
Harbour users noticing or suspecting pollution of any kind entering Langstone Harbour should contact the Environment Agency Pollution Reporting Line on 0800 807060 (this is a 24 hour FREE number).
STORM WATER DISCHARGES
Improvements to the Southern Water sewage treatment plant at Budds Farm at the northern end of the Harbour, including the construction of a 5.7km sea outfall under the Harbour which takes waste water from the pumping station at Eastney out to sea, have resulted in great improvement in the water quality of the Harbour in recent years. Southern Water are also running a ’Keep it Clear’ campaign, encouraging customers to dispose of items such as sanitary waste and medicines responsibly, rather than via the waste water system where they can cause blockages exacerbating the problems associated with Storm Water Discharges.
Issues still arise during periods of heavy rainfall, when storm water (a mixture of rain and untreated sewage) is discharged directly into the Harbour from several locations under licence from the Environment Agency. These releases prevent flooding to local homes and businesses. Please click on the link to Southern Water's "Beachbuoy" above to find out more.
The Langstone Harbour Board has no resource or powers to monitor, manage, or regulate water quality within its jurisdiction. The competent authority holding these powers is the Environment Agency. Nonetheless, we recognise that water quality, particularly that relating to sewage and stormwater discharges, are not only highly emotive issues for our harbour users but also potentially harmful to the habitats and wildlife that call Langstone Harbour home.
SEWAGE ABOARD BOATS
In line with best practice advice, the Langstone Harbour Board recommends that all recreational boat users have a holding tank for sewage installed on their boat. Only environmentally friendly cleaning and disinfection products should be used on board, as regular products are toxic to marine life. Use ’Pump Out’ facilities to empty your holding tank. There are Pump Out facilities available in Southsea Marina, while both Portsmouth Harbour to the west and Chichester Harbour to the east also have Pump Out facilities. To see a directory of UK Pump Out facilities click here.
Oils, diesels and all other petrochemicals pose a serious risk to the marine environment. Oils are extremely toxic, affecting the reproduction, growth and feeding capabilities of many marine species, as well as entering our own food chain.
A single litre of oil can contaminate over 1 million litres of water, and under the Water Resources Act 1991 it is an offence to deliberately or accidentally discharge pollutants such as diesel, contaminated bilge water or oil into any waterway, including coastal waters.
By following the Best Practice Advice offered by The Green Blue, you can eliminate the risk of oil entering the marine environment. In line with this advice, the Langstone Harbour Board recommend that all Harbour users install bilge socks in their vessels. More information about bilge socks can be obtained from the Langstone Harbour Board office, where bilge socks are also available to purchase.
In the event of an oil spill in Langstone Harbour, the Langstone Harbour Board holds an amount of oil spill clean up equipment, and has a number of staff members trained to deal with clean up.
The oil spill contingency plan for Langstone Harbour is called LANGSPILL, and is scrutinised and updated regularly. The plan is held by local authorities and emergency services, and training excercises involving these organisations are regularly held.