Thames Water has had to explain why sewage was pumped into the River Chess.

The River Chess Association (RCA) wanted an explanation from Thames Water after sewage was allowed to enter the river from Chesham Sewage Treatment Works at the end of January. This was allowed to happen even though the sewage works have seen recent significant improvements in terms of the amount of sewage they can hold in storage tanks.

An RCA spokesperson was quoted in the Buckinghamshire Examiner:

“It’s with regret that we have to announce that there was a discharge of sewage into the River Chess on Sunday. We had hoped we’d seen the last of these sewage discharges.

“Although legal and permitted by the STW licence, such discharges are undesirable in any river, let alone a chalk river of such high quality.

“The other concern is the large amount of sewage detritus, such as sanitary towels, in the river. Two items were snagged immediately below the outfall pipe and could only have come from the sewage works.”

In response Thames Water’s Craig Rance said:

“Melting snow, heavy rain and very high groundwater led to exceptionally large flows entering Chesham sewage works over the weekend.

“This filled up the works’ back-up storm water tanks, which were doubled in size in 2009 to reduce the risk of discharges. However, due to the sheer volume of incoming flows, heavily diluted waste water spilled into the River Chess.”

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