February 2013 -

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Sewage discharged into the River Chess

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

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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River Kennet at risk of sewage contamination

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Residents have become concerned by sewage leaking into the River Kennet. Due to the high rainfall levels over recent months the water table in East Kennet has risen to a level which is causing manhole covers to be pushed up. The result of this is that sewage is finding its way into the river. The Charity Action for River Kennet (ARK) has expressed concern that the increasing frequency of sewage leaks will cause lasting damage. Their director Charlotte Hitchmough was quoted as saying in the Gazette and Herald:

“Sewers leaking into the river are cause for concern. "We’ve had reports of sewage leaking into the river in other areas including Coopers Meadow, Stonebridge and Aldbourne, so if anyone does spot anything they should report it. “The first port of call should be the Environment Agency but if they let ARK know then we can put a dot on the map along with evidence and can present a stronger case to Thames Water.”
The problem was first reported to Thames Water in December and the London drainage company have been managing the issue since then. They have even used tankers to pump out overflowing sewers at a pumping station whose levels are high due to flood waters. An Environment Agency spokesperson confirmed:
“We are aware of the incident and we are in ongoing discussions with the water company about the best way to alleviate the problem.”

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Unprecedented water levels keep Thames Waters’ tankers busy

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Thames Water has said that it has spent over £4.5m this winter pumping out sewers to stop them overflowing after the region was saturated by unprecedented rainfall. The London drainage company said that they were left with no choice but to pump sewage away from some locations after the water table level rose to record heights. Locations where sewer tankers have been pumping sewage include Playhatch and Lambourn. The waste water company said that because the ground is still saturated they see no way of protecting homes other than pumping the sewage away for the “foreseeable future”. One resident from Playhatch spoke to the BBC, he said he had lived with a “lake of raw sewage” which had appeared intermittently around his home since the beginning of December. A Thames Water spokesperson said:

"In places like Playhatch we are having to get tanker lorries to suck out excess waste water in our sewers to stop those sewers flooding."
He also said that while they were doing their best there was only so much they could achieve, he continued:
"We are essentially trying to pump a river dry, which we can never achieve,"

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Drainage Problems – Pipe Liner Repair

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Drainage engineers have to face a host of problems on a daily basis as part of their everyday jobs. And like all jobs some days things go according to plan and some days things become slightly more complicated. The majority of drainage jobs a drainage engineer may visit will simply be caused by debris blocking the drainage pipe - a job which in most cases is quite easy to fix. However if this problem has happened a number of times, or if further investigation is needed the time it takes to resolve a drainage issue may increase. CCTV surveys If a customer has recurrent drainage problems it may be necessary to perform a CCTV survey. This will give the engineer a clear view of the inside of the drainage pipe so they will be able to assess what the problem is. Usually a small CCTV camera is inserted into the pipe and pushed along the pipe’s length recording deviations in the pipe, fissures, cracks or even pipe collapse. If the drainage pipe is large enough small remote controlled robots can be used, with cameras fitted, which can be rotated to view the pipe in clearer detail. In a lots of cases that see frequent drainage problems it’s the pipe itself which has a problem. This might be a deviation in the pipe due to subsidence or it might be a crack in the pipe’s surface. Even small fissures around a join can provide an area for debris to accumulate and a blockage to occur. If there is a problem with a drainage pipe it’s not always the case that the pipe will have to be excavated and a new pipe reinstated. In some situations it may be appropriate to instigate a pipe liner repair. Methods used to repair a damage drainage pipe include: Polyester liner resin repair This

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Residents concerned by Chilton sewage flooding

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

Recent heavy rainfall in the village of Chilton has led to some residents fearing that they will once again face the problem of raw sewage contaminating local roads. Residents say there has been repeated contamination of The Lane over recent months with heavy rain exacerbating the problem. One of the residents, Fred Dumbleton, spoke in the Oxford Mail, he said:

“Sewage has been overflowing in The Lane. It has been cleared several times in the past two weeks, but the contamination keeps coming back.”
The problem has also been reported to the Environment Agency, commented Mr Dumbleton, who continued:
“Unfortunately sewage is still coming out on the road surface where I walk my dog. “People in the village would like this to be sorted out.”
Craig Rance, the spokesperson from Thames Water commented:
“While our sewer network in Chilton is working as it should, it is struggling with the sheer volume of water going through it after England’s wettest year on record. “Heavy rainfall has overwhelmed rivers and streams, and in turn our sewerage system. “The ground is already sodden, so water is running across the surface and into our sewers, which are designed to take wastewater from homes and businesses, not flood water too.”

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Work nearly finished at Crawley Sewage Treatment Works

Friday, February 15th, 2013

A Thames Water upgrade of the Crawley sewage treatment works is just about complete says the London drainage firm. The works at Radford Road, adjacent to Gatwick, should be finished in the next month or so. The £28m investment in the sewage works began in Feb 2010 and has been designed to protect rivers around the area by improving the water discharged into them. The Crawley site has had specialist equipment installed to reduce the amount of nitrate released into the water. A spokesperson for Thames Water said:

“This is one of the biggest investment programmes we’ve carried out in this five-year period, and it will offer huge benefits to the people living near these sites. “Not only have we improved the quality of the leftover sewage sludge leaving these treatment works, we have made sure there is less solid waste having to be transported away, which means fewer lorries on the roads."
The water discharged from the sewage treatment site at Crawley enters the River Mole before making its way to the River Thames. The spokesperson continued:
“All of this work is also good news for the local rivers, as the discharge from the sites is now of an even better standard so we can be sure that we are looking after our local environment too both now and in the future. “We have also taken steps to reduce potential odour.”
The site’s sewage treatment capacity has also been increased allowing for population growth.

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Borehamwood residents suffer sewer misery

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Residents want Thames Water to compensate them after sewage flowed into their gardens three times over the last month. Families in Borehamwood awoke last week to find their gardens were covered with sewer detritus including human excrement, toilet paper and tampons. It was the second time the sewer had flooded in the same week. They are now calling for Thames Water to use CCTV drainage survey equipment to find out what is causing the problem. The problem first occurred over Christmas when resident Yvette DeRoy alerted them to the issue. She said in the Borehamwood and Elstree Times: “There was a mountain of human excrement pumping from the drains and it made me feel sick. What if that gets into our tap water?

“I am appalled by this situation because it is so obviously a health hazard. I am expecting it to happen again but Thames Water have no empathy - we are living a ticking time bomb. “I looked over at my neighbours garden and they were knee deep in a fountain of sludge and filth, I was ankle deep. “It was sickening - it was basically a pond of toilet filth gushing from our front to back gardens.
After the first problem had been alleviated residents were told the problem was caused by rags which had blocked the drain, but they have yet to receive clarification about the further issues. Another resident Mr Tony Macken commented:
“I am aggravated because we have been told to claim on our own house insurance for the damages. “Firemen have been fantastic in pumping the water away but that is not their job - the water board should be more competent, this is not on. “There are still bits of sewage in the front and back garden. We keep expecting to wake up to find poo and other toilet muck sprouting from the

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Hambledon residents cope with sewer flooding

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Residents in the small village of Hambleden were left with flooded bathrooms and no toilet facilities after the sewer system in their village struggled to cope with the amount of rainfall over the Christmas and New Year period. Toilets in homes across the village were blocked and residents had to use public showering and bathing facilities. One resident, Julie Roberts, said that she had to use her local gym’s showering facilities, she commented in the Henley Standard:

“Most of the houses in Hambleden have bathrooms downstairs so people couldn’t use them. The toilet bowls were full of waste water. The problem was so bad — all the drain covers were lifting because there was so much water in them. “My partner and I were using public toilets in the car park at Hambleden Mill.”
Thames Water finally hired a tanker to pump the sludge from the drains, bringing relief to residents. However residents fear that it’s only a matter of time before the problem resurfaces and have asked for a more permanent solution to be found. A Thames water spokesperson confirmed they had attended the problem and revealed that the excessive rain combined with a sewer blocked by fat had exacerbated the problem. The spokesperson said:
“Food fat should never go down drains because while it slips down sinks easily when warm, it cools down in our sewers and sets into hard ‘fatbergs’, which leads, in cases like this, to sewage backing up into people’s homes. “We sympathise deeply with any of our customers who have been sewer-flooded. It is truly disgusting and we are committed to ending this problem.”

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