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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.

Latest News

Speak Up for the Chess

Mar 16, 2020

Category: General
Posted by: Kathryn

If you share our concern about the sewage pollution to the River Chess and would like to contact the relevant authorities about it, please feel free to adapt this template letter.

The revelant email addresses are:
Thames Water E-Mail: EIR.Requests@thameswater.co.uk
Environment Agency E-Mail: HNLenquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk
OFWAT E-Mail: mailbox@ofwat.gov.uk

You may also wish to copy in your MP and your local Environmental Health department, which will be one of the following
Dame Cheryl Gillan E-Mail: cheryl.gillan.mp@parliament.uk
Gagan Mohindra MP E-Mail: gagan.mohindra.mp@parliament.uk
Three Rivers DC Environmental Health environmental.health@threerivers.gov.uk
Chiltern District Environmental Health EnvHealth@chilternandsouthbucks.gov.uk

Subject: Discharge of untreated sewage into the River Chess from the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works.

March 2020

Dear Sirs,
I pay my water bill to Affinity Water, it includes an amount to cover sewage services carried out by Thames Water. I am shocked to discover that under certain circumstances the sewage at the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works is being discharged into the River Chess, untreated. I am even more shocked to learn that the Environment Agency allow such discharges. I understand this happens under conditions when the volume of sewage entering the works exceeds the processing capacity and all emergency storage has been filled. With changing weather patterns these incidents will occur more often. We understand there is space within the Chesham Sewage Treatment Works to build additional storage to avoid any future discharges. I would suggest that Thames Water, the Environment Agency and OFWAT look at this issue as a matter of priority.

I now understand this practice has been going on for years and needs to stop. It is the water industry’s dirty little secret. On the Chess the last big event was in 2014 when discharges occurred for 4 months continuously. Since then we have had one event in September 2016 but since September 2019 there have been 9 events. This coincides with rain events. The valley has been relatively dry since 2014 and only recently have we seen prolonged heavy rain. It should not be a surprise that with rising groundwater things will only get more challenging.

I would like to remind you that the River Chess is a chalk stream, a globally rare habitat, already under pressure from low flows, runoff pollution and invasive species, it is also a public amenity used by thousands of people for recreational purposes and by local schools and children’s groups for education. Sewage discharges are an unacceptable threat to health and the environment. Solving the issue is straight forward and should be a priority in your local plans.

Yours faithfully


Your name
Chess Valley Resident
Your address

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