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Greetham demands answers from Anglian Water over fears sewage released into village brook

Villagers have asked the Environment Agency to investigate after fears raw sewage was released into a brook from a nearby pumping station.

Workmen were seen discharging overflow from the Anglian Water facility at Greetham into a stream,which feeds into North Brook,.

The pumping station, which connects to a sewage works sat the other end of the village, also deals with sewage from Stretton and HMP Stocken.

Parish council chairman Ken Anderson was out walking last Wednesday (February 10) when he spotted the work.

Pumping station overflow was discharged into the North Brook at Greetham
Pumping station overflow was discharged into the North Brook at Greetham

“I saw two guys working there and dirty water coming out, and then in the brook there was an acrid smell, something really noxious,” he said.

Grey-coloured liquid continued to be discharged from the pumping station for two further days.

“There is an overflow pit at the pumping station and when it gets to a certain level, an alarm goes off and they have to release it," Mr Anderson said.

“They use heavy rain as the cause, but it’s more than heavy ran which affects it. This has happened in the summer when it’s been dry.”

Anglian Water said persistent rainfall on already saturated ground had been to blame, but.they also claimed villagers in Greetham had been partly at fault.

"The network is being inundated by the excess water," a spokesman said.

"This is what is causing much of the flooding we are seeing.

"Alongside this, on February 10, our pumping station at Greetham became blocked by wipes and other unflushables which had been wrongly disposed of down the drain, causing a storm overflow to release the excess floodwater.

"This overflow is permitted by the Environment Agency and is designed to protect people and property from flooding.

“Our engineers attended the site quickly to install over-pumps which are temporarily bypassing the pumping station while it is being cleaned. This work will be completed today (Thursday).

Mr Anderson has asked the Environment Agency to investigate.

“We want to get to the bottom of it,” he added.

“We want someone to come to the brook and take a sample at the moment it is happening. Its no use coming days afterwards."

Water companies must adhere to strict conditions set down by the Environment Agency over discharges into water courses.

“We are currently investigating the nature of this discharge and whether it is in line with permitted activities at the site," said an Environment Agency spokesman.

“Members of the public are encouraged to report pollution incidents to us via our 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 807060.”

Mr Anderson said Greetham had suffered with drainage problems for more than 20 years and feels villagers’ requests for improvements have not been taken seriously.

“We had two big developments which increased the village population by about 25 per cent and we pointed out that the sewage system couldn’t cope as it was, but they said it was adequate.

“As more and more houses get built and as we are getting sewage from Stretton as well, we are going to get more problems.

“I’m sure the solution is improved infrastructure, but they will always find a reason why they have no money.

“ I’m sure there are more major things they have to do, we are realistic in this village and understand that, but we do have to argue our own corner.”

Concerns over the discharge were heightened because of the Covid-19 outbreak at Stocken Prison, but Anglian Water said it posed no increased risk.

“There is no evidence from the World Health Organisation to suggest that flood water presents any increased risk in the spread of Covid-19," a spokesman added.

"People can contact their local Environmental Health Team at the local council for more information.

"However, we would always encourage people to follow the Environment Agency’s advice and stay away from flood water.."

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