Portnals Pipe update
05/05/2018 10:25:00......Posted by Mario Creatura
For some weeks now we've been putting pressure on the Council and Thames Water to fix the broken pipe on Portnalls Road.
Following significant pressure from local councillors, Croydon Council has issued the below message to Thames Water:
'I’m writing with reference to the ongoing overflowing sewage issue on Portnalls Road, Coulsdon and the number of emails which have already been exchanged today.
I’m pleased to note that there is a tanker currently on site attending to the clear up of the sewage. However, this issue has been ongoing for several days. Although I appreciate that work is required to devise a permanent solution, we had been assured that the manhole was being cleared twice a day to prevent an overflow – this is clearly not happening or is not an adequate precaution given the situation yesterday evening and today.
The overflow of sewage is affecting a public footpath which is close to a school. I don’t have to point out the risks to public health from raw sewage, which are significant, and the situation is unacceptable. I am receiving regular complaints and emails expressing concern from the school, members of the public and elected members and I do not think it will be long before the local press are alerted to the situation.
My colleague in the council’s public protection service has already advised you about the potential for us to take enforcement action to deal with the ongoing risk to public health being caused by this situation. This would involve us serving statutory notices on yourselves requiring you to take remedial action, the notice carries the facility for us to carry out the works in your default and re-charge the cost to you. Depending on the legislation used, failing to comply with the notice could be an offence for which we could take legal action (prosecution) against you in the Magistrates’ Court.
We have already requested you to provide us with a plan outlining your proposal for a permanent solution, along with timescales, and I look forward to receiving this by Tuesday 8th May in order to avoid the need for us to take enforcement action against you. The situation will be closely monitored by my environmental health colleagues over the bank holiday weekend and enforcement action commenced should we not receive the requested information from you or if there are any further sewage overflows which are not cleaned immediately.
Can you also provide me with a point of contact leading on this case for the weekend so my officers are able to speak to them should the need arise.
For the interim and by return please provide reassurance that Thames are actively managing this unacceptable environmental situation and are providing a permanent presence onsite to deal with any surcharging until a solution can be found.'
Update: 8th May
Update from Croydon Council:
'We have received an update from Thames, in that they have identified the problem with the manhole which is overflowing and are hoping to connect to an alternative, existing sewer. This sewer is not a public sewer and they therefore need permission from the landowners, whom they have contacted to request this. They will update us on Thursday.
'In the meantime they have increased the frequency of pumping out the manhole to prevent it overflowing. Council officers will continue to monitor the situation.'
Update: 11th May
An update from Thames Water:
'Following my email of earlier this week I wanted to write with an update on the repair to the sewer on Portnalls Road.
'My colleague has spoken to the leaseholder of the field and he is happy for us to attend and construct the cross connection. This work is planned to start Monday or Tuesday next week. The sewer we are connecting into is also being lined to ensure its structural stability in the long term. The sewer runs close to the mature trees and the lining will protect it from future root ingress.
'Be assured that we are continually updating Council Officers of our works and will do throughout.'
Update: 18th May
From Thames Water: 'I just wanted to provide you with a latest update on the works in Portnalls Road. We have now completed the lining works. However, during our line search to construct the new cross connection pipe across the field, we found an existing pipeline. Initially we thought that this was a high pressure gas main. We contacted Southern Gas Networks, who have since reported that this was not one of their assets. We now believe that this is a pipe belonging to Esso and we are in the process of arranging a meeting with them.
'Neither Barrett Homes, nor the leaseholder of the field mentioned the existence of the pipeline to us in prior conversations.
'We continue to pump out of the sewer. We understand that this may cause minor disruption to local residents, for which we apologise. However this will only be a short term delay until we can get the correct authorisations in place to continue.'
Update: 25th May
Thames Water have now sorted out the issue with the pipeline and the work is due to begin next Tuesday. The work should be completed by the end of the week.