A water treatment centre on Rickmansworth’s outskirts recently discharged sewage and storm detritus into the River Colne for nearly 16 hours.
According to a live map of storm discharges operated by water suppliers Thames Water, there was a discharge at the storm overflow located at the company’s Maple Lodge facility that lasted from 9.45am on Wednesday, December 13, until 1.30am on Thursday, December 14.
This means that sewage was emitted from the overflow into the River Colne for a total of 15 hours and 45 minutes.
The river runs through the Mill End area of Rickmansworth into Watford, and according to environmental charity Groundwork, has some of the poorest water and habitat quality in the area.
It also connects to several other waterways in the local area, including the protected River Chess in Amersham, the Colne Valley Nature Reserve and the Grand Union Canal.
Thames Water have stated on their website that they are planning upgrades to the Maple Lodge site to ensure the discharges into the river are of a higher quality in water in the future, but a completion date for this work has yet to be completed.
A spokesperson for Thames Water said: “Taking action to improve the health of rivers is a key focus for us and we want to lead the way with our transparent approach to data. We’re the first company to provide live alerts for all untreated discharges throughout our region and this ‘near real-time’ data is available to customers as a map on our website and is also available through an open data platform for third parties, such as swimming and environmental groups, to use.
“We regard all discharges as unacceptable and we have published plans to upgrade over 250 of our sewage treatment works and sewers across London and the Thames Valley. Maple Lodge Sewage Treatment Works is planned for an upgrade to increase the site’s capacity and we’re also investigating the impact of groundwater on the sewer network in this area.
“In addition, we have started the £100million upgrade of Mogden sewage treatment works, which will increase capacity and reduce the number of storm discharges from the site, and we’re also spending £145million upgrading Beckton sewage works.”
You can view the sewage discharge map here.
Photo credit: Mark Percy