More news...

Jul 6, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

With this hot weather our water use goes up; this leaves less water available for the Chess.

May 3, 2018
Category: Abstraction
Posted by: Kathryn

With an ever-growing demand for drinking water and increasingly extreme weather events, how do we get the water we need without causing even more harm to our rivers?

May 2, 2018
Category: Drought
Posted by: Kathryn

Our riverfly monitors are back out in the centre of Chesham checking for life in the Chess now that flow has returned.

Mar 24, 2018
Category: HS2
Posted by: Kathryn

A public meeting with HS2 and the Environment Agency looked at the risks posed by tunnelling to the groundwater and rivers of the Chess and Misbourne Valleys.

Latest News

That's Another Fine Mess...

Feb 3, 2013

Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn

Sewage forces its way out of a manhole cover in Holloway Lane

Sewage forces its way out from the manhole cover in Holloway Lane, Chesham

Untreated sewage flowed into the River Chess from Thursday 24th January until the 29th January 2013 due to a blocked sewer in Holloway Lane, Chesham.

The blocked sewer was first reported to Thames Water by rail contractors working on the embankment of the Metropolitan Line on the 24th January after their construction camp became inundated with raw sewage. Thames Water, or one of their subcontractors attended the incident and used rods to clear a short stretch of sewer, which appeared to solve the problem. However, raw sewage then continued to force its way out of the sewer.

A number of people reported the incident on the 29th January, including one of our supporters, who managed to get through to very senior people at Thames Water and also informed the River Chess Association of this escalated action. This was the first time the incident had been reported to the Environment Agency. Once the gravity of the incident was realised, action was prompt and the problem was solved. The blockage had been caused by a build up of moistened toilet wipes, sanitary towels and grease in the sewer.

We met with James Burton from the Environment Agency on site. He took very decisive action and was key in getting the problem resolved. He deals with all emergency incidents in the area and pointed out that the incident should have been notified to the Environment Agency on the 24th January. He has been dealing with a number of incidents on the Chess over recent weeks, including the milky substance in the Vale Brook in Chesham and oil polluting the Town Ditch in Rickmansworth.

We have worked closely with Thames Water during this incident and we were pleased with the eventual action taken, although we would much rather the incident had been solved on the 24th January when it was first reported. Our big concern is that sewage was flowing in to the Chess at a particularly clean stretch of the river, which recently hosted spawning trout. As yet we are unsure if this has had an adverse effect on the young fish.

All pollution incidents should be first reported to the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 80 70 60. In the case of sewer leaks in our area, also contact Thames Water on 0845 9200 800.

We are arranging to meet with Thames Water to see how we can improve the handling of these incidents and other ongoing problems associated with the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works.