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Guildford's creaking Sewage System

Thames Water's tankers have finally left the A247 Send Road outside the New Inn after working since 14 October pumping out sewage to avoid spillage resulting from a burst sewer pipe about half a mile away. The pumping station situated adjacent to the Wey Navigation system's towpath was insufficient to cope with the problem. Up to 8 tankers at a time have been lined up to collect wastage and take it away for treatment.

The resulting 3-way traffic lights onto a single carriageway have caused major traffic jams in both the Send and Old Woking directions.

But we are also very concerned that the sewer problem could easily have become - or maybe already has become - a public health issue. Contaminated water can lead to diarrhoea, dysentery e-coli, and even cholera in humans. These are not diseases we would expect to rear their ugly heads in sunny Surrey. And yet in early October, e-coli was indeed a problem here, with more than 400 postcodes or 6500 properties affected, including homes in Godstone, Westerham, Redhill, Lingfield and Horley when e-coli was found to possibly be present in local water supplies. . Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria normally live in the intestines of healthy people and animals and most types are harmless or cause mild diarrhoea. However some strains can cause severe stomach cramps, bloody diarrhoea and vomiting.

Residents in the affected areas were advised to boil their water.


Is this an accident waiting to happen in the Guildford area too?

We renew our call for an urgent review of the Local Plan, in particular the assessment of housing need, which we believe was overstated. And for any approved developments to have the necessary upgrades to infrastructure in place BEFORE any work on site can begin. This would probably also involve planning applications NOT being reviewed in isolation but in the context of both neighbouring housing and planned nearby development in the pipeline (sic).



1 Comment

David Roberts
David Roberts
Nov 23, 2021

Our rivers are in a dire state. The Environment Agency has just spent £2 million building a fish ladder where the Wey joins the Thames. Well done. But stopping sewage discharges would be better. Last month, the serious one in Send took two weeks to clear up.

There were 19,800 sewage discharges into Surrey rivers last year. That’s four per cent of England’s total, even though Surrey accounts for only 1% of its surface area and 2% of its population. Our MP, Sir Paul Beresford, therefore needs to explain his counter-factual claim, in a recent letter to Mole Valley Conservatives, that there are “VERY FEW sewage overflows into Surrey rivers” (his emphasis).

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