How you can help prevent sewage leaks into rivers

sewage leaks out of manhole

When it rains a lot, water seeps through the soil and collects underground. When ground water levels are high, sewers frequently become inundated with excess water which gets in through holes in the sewer pipes, gaps around manhole covers and misconnected drains. Sewers become so full of water that the lids pop-up, spewing the foul contents across the surrounding area and letting sewage flow directly into any nearby streams or rivers.

This photo above  shows a sewer ‘surcharging’ its contents alongside the picturesque Kennet at Cooper’s Meadow in Marlborough.

Thames Water will clear up flooding from their sewers, but better still Action for the River Kennet  would like to see sewers maintained to a standard where sewer flooding is much less frequent. This type of pollution is bad for the environment, and a health hazard – as well as being very unpleasant to have to walk through.

Everyone can help prevent sewage leaks into rivers by being careful what they flush away. Blockages caused by cooking fat, non-flushable sanitary products and wet wipes make the sewer flooding problem worse.

ARK’s call was endorsed by the Angling Trust, the national representative body for angling which campaigns for clean rivers. Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater at the Trust, added: “Groundwater pollution through leaky sewer pipes is a real problem in chalk aquifers where springs can break through in unexpected places and overwhelm the system at times of high water. It is vital that the water companies are funded by the regulator to build in greater resilience to extreme weather conditions because, quite frankly, the current ageing infrastructure is simply not up to coping with what climate change is throwing our way.”

ARK requests that people to report any sewer flooding to the Environment Agency Incident Line: 0800 807060 and to Thames Water on 0845 9200 800.



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