April 2013 -

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Sewage leak from Little Meadow Sewage Works

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Residents in Bourne End have alerted Thames Water to sewage collecting on the banks of the River Thames near their homes. Christine Roy spoke in the Bucks Free Press. She said that she had called Thames Water after noticing a “scum” on the river’s surface. She said:

"I saw it floating down the river in the morning," "By the time I got back home later that day it had drifted into our pontoon. "The Thames Water inspector took a look and said someone would return, so I took a bucket of the stuff just in case it floated away before they came back. "It doesn’t smell that bad, but it looks absolutely horrible."
Early Environment Agency reports suggest that the leak emanated from a faulty pipe at Little Meadow sewage works. Thames Water has apologised, their spokesperson Natalie Slater said:
"This is deeply regrettable and we have been working around the clock to try and get this resolved. "We have done a clean-up of the river and we’ll get this mess cleared up today (Tuesday). "Our engineers continue to monitor the site to prevent any more pollution and we have a team of dedicated specialists working to get the equipment back up and running. We hope to get this sorted as soon as we can."

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Ground water levels begin to drop

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Thames Water has announced that thankfully ground water levels have started to drop. Despite the April showers many regions have seen over the last few weeks ground water levels have dropped slightly in the Thames Valley region. This is despite the first half of the month seeing around 57% of the average monthly rainfall. This is good news for residents who live in areas where tankers were previously needed to remove some of the excess sewer waste. The sewer flooding seen by residents at the end of last year and the beginning of this caused misery for thousands. This was because 2012 was the wettest on record in England and the sewer system simply couldn’t cope with the extra rainfall it was expected to take away. The number of tankers removing excess sewage has now been reduced by more than half. The head of network at Thames Water, Anthony Crawford, said:

“Last week we had a fair amount of rain but overall, we’ve still only had 57% per cent of the average rainfall so far in April meaning that groundwater levels are starting to drop off in some areas. “The sun has started to make a much-needed return this week so we’ve been able to remove some of our tankers in areas which are coping so we can give people a break from the noise and disruption they cause. “In a lot of places, we’ve already started our investigations as to whether any repairs are needed and we’re working with the Environment Agency and local authorities to discuss flood alleviation schemes for the future.”

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What happens to sewage at you local sewage treatment works?

Monday, April 15th, 2013

Many people don’t give a second thought to the sewage which leaves their homes, but the process of transporting it to sewage works and treating it is quite complex. All the sewage or waste water which leaves your home needs to be treated before it is put safely back into rivers. This waste travels via sewage pipes to the local sewage works. In some areas there are also separate surface water sewers which channel the surface water i.e. water from roofs, roads and pavements, straight back into a river. This is why it’s important that you never pour waste of any kind into a surface drain. Although there are networks which feature separate surface water and foul water sewers most use a combined system which transports the waste and rainwater to a sewage treatment plant. And in the city of London this is the process used. Any water which leaves your home when you empty the sink or flush the toilet enters the sewer network. It is then pumped to the local sewage treatment works where it is treated before it is allowed to be released into a river. When the waste water arrives at the sewage treatment plant the first cleaning stage is screening. This is where the large objects which may block the further processes are removed. Things which should never be put into the drainage system are usually removed at this stage such as nappies, sanitary items and even things such as rags and bottles. The first stage of the treatment process is called primary treatment. This is where all the organic solids are removed from the waste water. Putting the waste into large settlement tanks allows the solids, or sludge, to sink to the bottom of the tank. During this process the sludge is pushed towards the tank centre where it

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River Chess sees sewer flooding after pump failure

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Thames Water has apologised after a leak saw sewage flood into the River Chess. The London drainage company said a waste pump at their Chesham Sewage Works became blocked which subsequently caused a leak which flooded neighbouring land and flowed into the nearby river. The owner of the contaminated land phoned Thames Water and the River Chess Association (RCA). The chairman of the RCA went to the leak site to inspect the damage. He said:

"If we didn't contact Thames Water they'd be oblivious to the problem. We've given up a lot of time and had meetings to try and prevent this from happening, but we can't accept their excuses any more. "We've had several major events recently, I know we've had a lot of rain and snow but not on levels to cause these sorts of problems. "We've asked Thames Water for its plan of how it'll ensure this doesn't happen again, we want to work with them but I have to say our patience is wearing thin."
Thames Water believe that the pump was stopped by an accumulation of wet wipes which should not have been in the sewer system. Thames Water spokesperson Craig Rance commented:
"This is hugely frustrating and deeply regrettable. We'd remind our customers not to dispose of anything other than human waste and loo roll down drains."

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