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Mar 16, 2020
Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn
If you'd like to write to the authorities about the on-going sewage pollution in the Chess, we've created a template letter for you to adapt.
Mar 16, 2020
Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn
The intermittent pollution is impacting conservation work, educational field trips, recreation and farming.
Feb 17, 2020
Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn
On the 16th February, Thames Water's Chesham Sewage Treatment Works released storm sewage into the river.
Jan 15, 2020
Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn

On 15th January, Thames Water's Chesham Sewage Treatment Works released storm sewage into the river.

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Sewage Pollution Continues

Mar 16, 2020

Category: Pollution
Posted by: Kathryn

Sewage pollution from the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works again occurred on the 28th and 29th February, with discharges continuing intermittently into March.Our most recent notification from Thames Water of sewage discharges into the river occurred on the 15th March.

We are now concerned that some of the pollution may be occurring as a result of the rising groundwater infiltrating the sewer system. If this is the case, sewage could continue to be discharged into the Chess for some time. Back in 2014, the last time we experienced high groundwater, sewage was discharged for 4 months continuously.

Despite frequent communication with Thames Water, it has proven difficult to get a clear or timely picture of exactly when the discharges are occurring, for how long, and what volume. We will update our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/RiverChess) and Twitter feed (@RiverChess) whenever we are made aware that a discharge is taking place, and advise people and pets to stay out of the water. A local farmer has moved his ewes off the water meadows, as a precaution. Educational field visits, such as those organised by the Amersham Field Studies Centre, are being impacted.

We have been in contact with the Environmental Health department of Chiltern District Council, as they have the responsibility to inform the public of any associated health risks. They are being told that as these discharges are permitted by the Environment Agency, there is no requirement to inform the public. We would disagree with this; while any contact with river water carries a risk, with untreated sewage being discharged into a river the risk to public health increases.

Thames Water says that it only discharges sewage into the river when there is no alternative. We disagree, the alternatives of increasing capacity at the treatment works and tackling groundwater ingress into the sewers must be pursued to protect our chalk stream from further damage. With changes to climate leading to heavy rainfall, high groundwater and long droughts we need water infrastructure that can meet these challenges.

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