Chance to link Shoreham houseboats to sewage system is ‘wasted’

Houseboats in Shoreham
Houseboats in Shoreham

‘Disgusting’ is how a river user has described the sewage discharged from houseboats into the River Adur.

John Adams, who fixes boats on the river, has called for the Environment Agency to do more to link houseboats to the main sewage system and believes its work to install flood defence walls provides the ‘ideal opportunity’ to do so.

But while the Environment Agency has made sure houseboats are still able to connect to the sewage system by providing sealed ducting through its newly installed defences, the former chairman of the houseboat association Mike Wooldridge has said these efforts do not go far enough.

He believes an additional East West pipe could have been installed which would have ‘greatly reduced the cost’ for houseboats wanting to link to the sewage system.

He said: “They appear to be wasting an opportunity.”

Yet the Environment Agency has said it has no legal requirement to connect the houseboats to the sewage system.

Mr Adams, who lives in Worthing, considers this ‘crazy’, as he believes the sewage in the river creates a health hazard for canoeists and other river users. “It is polluting the river,” he said.

But Mr Wooldridge, whose boat is one of only two in the river that are already connected to the sewage system, out of roughly 40 houseboats, disagrees that it is a danger.

“In my opinion, the water is not terrible,” he said.

“I don’t see it as a health hazard.”

Tim Loughton, MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said: “It is worrying that, with the exception of two houseboat owners, sewage that has not been properly treated is still being discharged into the River Adur, which is why it was so important that we made sure a facility to connect the houseboats to the mains sewage system was included in the tidal defence works currently underway.”

He said he hoped houseboats owners would reconsider and embrace the opportunity to connect.