Sewage Action Group for the Lambourn Upper Valley (SAGLUV) – 6 April 2024 update

For more information on the Sewage Action Group for the Lambourn Upper Valley (SAGLUV), please see the section at the foot of this post (red heading). Updates will be provided below, the most recent first, as soon as possible after the group supplied them.

SAGLUV Update: 6 April 2024

The Sewage Action Group for the Lambourn Upper Valley (SAGLUV) held its first full meeting on Friday 5 April with the villages of Upper Lambourn, Lambourn, Eastbury, East Garston and Great Shefford all represented.

The main item on the agenda was an analysis of the current situation in each village. In order to progress the dialogue we have started with Thames Water. At the meeting we had with TW at the end of last month – and in its subsequent report– TW assured us of the further efforts they were making to mitigate the immediate problems: however, they were not very specific as they were still working on possible solutions.

Following that meeting, despite the fact that groundwater levels are still very high we have seen some definite improvements:

  • In Great Shefford, provided tankers are on site 24/7 and most of the difficulties of unusable loos and showers are mitigated. Unfortunately, we have seen variable attendance of tankers, and with rising groundwater levels, this is still a concern.
  • In East Garston, the sewers have been jet-cleaned and, at present, are clear, with the filter unit coping with the excess flows.
  • In Eastbury, the tanker operation was keeping things under control: until 5 April when manholes were overflowing again.
  • In Lambourn, we were advised that TW has jet-cleaned one kilometre of downstream sewer pipes. The good news is that the sewage fountain by the Fire Station has stopped. A tanker operation was started at Goose Green which has eased the problems in that area and has also slowed down the overflowing manhole in Oxford Street. Repairs to a broken sewage pipe in Baydon Road have been escalated and are currently in progress.
  • Upper Lambourn is, however, still suffering badly, which proves that groundwater flooding is still a major threat for the whole area. We now have to get TW’s focus onto Upper Lambourn as well.

Some of the above areas clearly need further investigation over the coming days to complete the picture. We are aware that the sewers are still full to capacity so these improvements are precarious, with any blockage, or heavy rain, rapidly changing the situation.

Our response to TW in the coming days will reflect these concerns, whilst acknowledging the improvements we have witnessed.

Another important issue we discussed, is how we communicate with residents to keep everyone up do date. As SAGLUV is a joint initiative by the three Parish Councils, all updates will be posted on each PC website, with “pointers” and links going onto other local communications channels.

Anyone wishing to contact SAGLUV can use the email address for the relevant PC, putting SAGLUV as the subject, or speak directly to any of the members.

SAGLUV (Sewage Action Group for the Lambourn Upper Valley)

The following statement from Martyn Wright of the East Gaston Flood and Pollution Forum describes the ambitions and scope of this group:

“It’s well known that there are significant problems with sewage throughout the Lambourn Valley. The villages of Great Shefford, East Garston, Eastbury, Lambourn and Upper Lambourn, (for ease of description, the Lambourn Upper Valley) all suffer from sewer flooding by groundwater infiltration and all are in the catchment of the East Shefford Sewage Treatment Works. Thames Water treats this catchment as a discreet area with its own Groundwater Management Plan.

“Many people, for many years, have been trying to tackle Thames Water in an attempt to bring about some improvement. The Lambourn Valley Flood Forum has been making strong representation:however, as the name suggests, the LVFF’s main focus has been on flooding issues. It is now felt that a more concentrated and co-ordinated effort is needed to resolve sewage problems in our specific part of the Valley that ties in with TW’s East Shefford STW Management Plan.

“The Chairs of the Parish Councils of Great Shefford, East Garston, and Eastbury, Lambourn and Upper Lambourn, have come together to form SAGLUV, the Sewage Action Group for the Lambourn Upper Valley. Our prime objective is to secure clear sewers and a clean river; and our prime target is Thames Water.

“Martyn Wright of the EGFPF has agreed to chair SAGLUV which will also be supported by the area’s District Councillors, Clive Hooker and Howard Wollaston. We will be inviting a small number of committed individuals, with specific knowledge and experience from each parish, to join the group to gather evidence of sewage problems, in order to present the strongest possible case to TW, the Environment Agency and other relevant organisations.

“There are no quick fixes and we have to be realistic in what we can, and cannot, achieve with TW in such a precarious financial state, however, we are determined to try! We will keep you updated, and seek your feedback, as the campaign develops.”

• For more information on this (and the EGFPF), please contact martynwright345@btinternet.com.

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