June 2012 -

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Marlborough sewage works get overhaul

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

Marlborough sewage works is undergoing extensive upgrade work to their treatment processing plant to help improve water quality in the river Kennet. The upgrade of the works is due to be completed early in 2013 and will stop untreated waste entering the Kennet in the event of heavy rainfall. The new scheme has the backing of a community based project called Care for the Kennet which campaigns to look after and improve the river condition. The Thames Water project manager Richard Lewis is quoted as saying:

"Until now our Care for the Kennet campaign has focused on urging people to use tap water wisely: 'the less we use the more there'll be in the river', and all that. "As well as continuing to be water-wise, we must also recognise that this upgrade is just as important in achieving our aim of enhancing and safeguarding the long-term environmental health of the iconic River Kennet, its fish and all the bugs, birds and other wildlife that call it home."
The new works will see the addition of a third storm tank alongside a nitrifying sand filter and the enlargement of the site’s inlet works. The addition of the third storm tank should reduce the chances of sewage entering the Kennet as it will provide additional capacity at times of heavy rainfall.

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Wickham sewage works gets needed upgrade

Friday, June 29th, 2012

A new project in West Berkshire will see the addition of a reed bed to clean waste water. The Wickham sewage works will see a new septic tank installed, alongside a new percolating filter and the reed bed, which should go some way to improve water quality leaving the plant. The plant currently serves around 240 people who live in the village of Wickham and the £888,000 project hopes to not only improve the treatment of the effluent but also improve the local environment. The sewage works discharges its treated effluent to the River Lambourn, which is a tributary of the River Kennet. Work has already started on the project, which is expected to be completed in early February 2013: The Thames Water project manager Richard Lewis is quoted as saying:

"The aim of this scheme is to improve the natural environment that Wickham sewage works discharges to by fitting a sustainable treatment system that uses natural processes to clean people's wastewater."
Thames Water is committed to improving the region’s fresh water and waste water systems and is spending £4.9bn between 2010 and 2015 to do just that.

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Drain blockage in Horsham caused by wet-wipes

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Recent flooding in Horsham has been caused by wet-wipes say sewer engineers. The non-biodegradable products were found when sewer engineers were trying to find out why sewers in Windsor Close kept causing flooding. Drainage engineers used drain jetting equipment to clear the blockage and removed the items from the clogged drainage line. The sewerage manager at Southern Water Steve Gray said:

“Blockages can have a dramatic impact not only on individual customers, but also on the environment, and prevention is better than cure. “Our sewerage system is only designed to cope with human waste and small volumes of toilet paper. Items such as cotton buds, nappies, tampons and baby wipes which people flush down the toilet do not break up and usually clump together to form a ball of rags.”
It’s Southern Water’s aim to educate the general public on what can and what can’t be flushed down the toilet so sewer and drain blockages can become a thing of the past. Doing this will see huge benefits to the environment and will save the company thousands of pounds every year otherwise spent attending unnecessary drain clogs.

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Homeowners in Leyton wake to find hole in road

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Homeowners in Leyton were surprised when a huge hole opened in the middle of their road earlier this month. The tarmac surface in Lea Hall Road collapsed leaving a gaping hole a few feet deep, other areas of the road also suffered cracks after the sewer with ran beneath the road collapsed. Drainage engineers attended the scene and the road was closed off to traffic while repairs took place. However, residents did raise some questions about the amount of maintenance the sewers in their roads receive. Speaking in the local Guardian newspaper, one resident said:

"If a car or pedestrian had been going over at the time who knows what would've happened. "It makes you wonder how well maintained these things are and how often the authorities check them. "This could happen elsewhere but the consequences could be far worse, there could be a nasty accident. "We were fortunate it was spotted quickly and perhaps if the road surface hadn't cracked in the heat we wouldn't have even seen it."
A spokesperson for Thames Water responded:
"We are working in Lea Hall Road to repair a collapsed sewer pipe which caused a hole to appear in the road surface above. "We aim to have this fixed as soon as possible. "We are really sorry for any inconvenience and would like to thank people for bearing with us."

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Misconnection leaks raw sewage into river

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Pipes which were connected from toilets to the wrong drainage system have left a river contaminated with toilet waste. The River Dour has seen raw sewage flowing onto it since March due to the error, which is upstream of Pencester Gardens. One of the local residents spoke to the Dover Express about the problem and claims to have seen an increase in rats along the river bank since the problem started: Mr Peter Hart said in the Dover Express:

“Two months seems to be a long time for sewage to be flowing into a river, and there really is a risk to health. “Downstream in Pencester Gardens I often see children in the Dour as it flows through the area. This water has to be contaminated, and warning signs should be put up without delay.”
It has been confirmed that the Environment Agency have now found the source of the leak and are working alongside Southern Water, who have conducted their own investigation to find the source of the problem. The leak into the river has been blamed on a misconnection, but the source not revealed due to potential prosecution by the Environment Agency. A spokesperson stated:
"We can't reveal the location of the source as investigations are still ongoing and there is a chance a prosecution case could be filed, but we can confirm we have found the problem."

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Oxford Street reopens after major upgrade works

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

Oxford Street has been reopened to two-way traffic following significant upgrade strengthening and repair work to the utility systems under the road surface. Over the next few months work will start on the connection of Bond Street Underground station to the new CrossRail Route, but before that could happen, the network of sewer, gas, water, telecommunication and electricity connections under Oxford Street had to be checked and upgraded if necessary. There was a concern that the age of the water main which runs beneath Oxford Street would cause a significant problem if it were to crack. The deputy project director David Whiteford explained:

“The 30-inch main is one of the main water feeds into London and the consequences of that breaking in the middle of Oxford Street would be horrendous.”
To solve any problems which may be associated with ground movement the Costain and Laing O’Rourke engineers inserted plastic sleeves inside the current pipes. The pulling of the sleeves did prove problematic in some areas due to the deviations the existing pipes took, but when completed around 1.2km of new plastic piping was inserted into the existing mains. Whiteford continued:
“We carried out radar surveys before we started, followed by hand-dug trial holes to confirm these surveys, “In total, over 1000 Permits to Dig had to be issued over the 18 months. The fact this was done without a significant service strike is a testimony to the diligence of the responsible persons issuing them.”

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Crook Log repair work to be put on hold for Olympics

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Transport for London has confirmed that any drain repairs in London which would affect the flow of traffic while the Olympic Games are going on in the capital. This means that the roadworks in Bexleyheath, Southeast London to repair a collapsed sewer will continue until the end of this month and then begin again in September. The Crook Log area of Bexleyheath has been affected by the sewerage issues for a number of months now as tankers have had to remove the wastewater from the site. However, work is now set to begin on repairing the sewer pipe which lies below the carriageway. After the planned repairs have been carried out, they will put the necessary road resurfacing work on hold until September 10. This is expected to take around five weeks and will be carried out during the evenings. Traffic in this part of Bexleyheath has been disrupted for some time now as a number of gas mains have also needed attention. While the current sewer repair job is being undertaken by engineers, two-way traffic lights will be in place near to Dallin Road.

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Work to get underway on collapsed sewer in Reading

Monday, June 18th, 2012

It has been revealed that Thames Water are to begin their planned work on repairing a collapsed Reading sewer in early July. This extensive job will involve engineers building a new pipe eight metres below a major road in the town centre. Therefore, the water company has warned that as the work is being carried out in such a busy area, one of the two roads affected will have to be closed while the repairs are ongoing. While Forbury Road should continue to remain open, Blagrave Street is to be closed from July 2 until the work is expected to be completed some time in November. Head of Programme Delivery for Thames Water, Andrew Popple, said:

“This is an incredibly complex job that we have been working around the clock to design since the sewer collapsed six months ago. “Due to the depth of the sewer and the extent of the damage, we are having to bring in specialist machinery so we can lay the new pipe using state-of-the-art technology. This means we can insert it underground minimising the amount that has to be dug using a deep trench.”
This sewer repair project is costing the water company £2 million.

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Blocked sewer causes problem for primary school

Friday, June 1st, 2012

A blocked sewer on a road in Kent has poured raw sewage within a few feet of a local primary school. It seems the sewer was first reported to local waste water company Thames Water at the end of April, but the problem surfaced again after heavy rainfall washed waste down a hill from the leak site. When notified of the incident, Thames Water sent an engineer who found that the problem was caused by tree roots which had infiltrated the sewer system and caused the blockage. The chairman of governors for the local school which was affected by the sewage, Penny Kift, said that the manhole from where the sewage was overflowing was covered in toilet paper. She spoke to the Westerham Chronicle: "I don't want to scaremonger or worry parents – but obviously having it so close to the school is not a good idea. "People need to be very aware of problems like this and report them if they see anything." A Thames Water spokesperson commented: "We have been out to clear a blockage on the pipe today and apologise for the inconvenience this has caused. "We cleared a similar blockage on April 27 and we have arranged to get engineers to come out with specialist equipment to cut out tree roots that are causing this sewer pipe to block."

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