Unfortunately, until there is significant investment in our national sewage system, in periods of heavy rain our sewers will continue to overflow raw sewage into our rivers and seas. To prevent it backing up into peoples homes, this is released via Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). You may have seen a disturbing program about this topic recently on BBC1 Panorama (available on iPlayer).Thankfully our local water company, Wessex Water, appears to be much more responsible and proactive than those companies featured on Panorama.
Things are slowly improving such that water companies now have to state where each of their CSOs are located, monitor them and publish figures for how many occasions and for how long they have spilled. You can find the local CSOs on this excellent map produced by, The Rivers Trust. https://www.theriverstrust.org/what-we-do/sewage-in-rivers/
One of our local volunteers sought out the CSO located near Huckford Viaduct. In 2020 that one spilled 74 times and ran for a total of 110 hours. They were very upset to see a tangled mess of rag and wet wipes at the exit into the river. A strainer within the CSO is meant to intercept such solids and just let the liquids pass. They reported their finding to the Environment Agency (EA) hotline, giving the precise location of the CSO and the nature of the problem.
We are very pleased to report, the EA immediately advised Wessex Water and the very next day our volunteer revisited and found the rag/wet wipes had been cleaned away. Furthermore, on contacting the EA we have determined the strainer within the CSO has been cleared, so it should not happen again. Rest assured we will be there to check after our next period of stormy weather.
If you would like to help us protect the River Frome, Bradley Brook and other local streams, please get in touch: [email protected]