Bad plumb­ing blamed for pol­lu­tion of river

In­ves­ti­ga­tion re­veals waste from toi­lets and sinks pour into Crane

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Alexan­der Ballinger alexan­der.ballinger@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

AN in­ves­ti­ga­tion has re­vealed more than 200 house­hold ap­pli­ances have been pour­ing filthy wa­ter into wa­ter­ways be­cause of plumb­ing mis­takes.

The probe was launched in 2014 by Thames Wa­ter to trace the source of the dirty wa­ter that was flow­ing into Yead­ing Brook and the River Crane in Hilling­don after the wa­ter qual­ity started hav­ing an im­pact on wildlife.

Of­fi­cers from the En­vi­ron­ment Agency (EA) sus­pected the cause was houses with bad plumb­ing that con­nected waste­water pipes to the sur­face wa­ter pipe net­work, meant for rain wa­ter.

Thames Wa­ter ex­plored the plumb­ing of thou­sands of homes in Hilling­don and found waste wa­ter from 100 homes was flow­ing into the brook and the river.

After dis­cov­er­ing the prob­lems Thames Wa­ter has helped the home­own­ers to get their pipes prop­erly con­nected as most peo­ple were will­ing to help.

How­ever, some have re­fused and they have been re­ported to the coun­cil who can force home-own­ers to fix the prob­lem.

Ruta Ake­lyte, from Thames Wa­ter’s en­vi­ron­ment team, said: “No-one wants toi­lets emp­ty­ing di­rectly into their lo­cal wa­ter­way so it’s a great feel­ing to have sorted this prob­lem out and im­proved the wa­ter qual­ity in the brook so much that wildlife can now eas­ily sur­vive there.

“We’ve got a mas­sive job still to do to trace more of these mis­con­nec­tions across our patch – so it’s re­ally im­por­tant that any­one hav­ing ex­ten­sions built or car­ry­ing out plumb­ing work em­ploys a rep­utable plumber and knows ex­actly where their waste­water is head­ing.”

En­vi­ron­ment of­fi­cer at the EA, Matthew Reed, said: “Vig­i­lant mem­bers of the public alerted us to the is­sues and En­vi­ron­ment Agency in­ves­ti­ga­tions prompted the clean-up of the brook by Thames Wa­ter.

“Wash­ing ma­chines, show­ers, and toi­lets were reg­u­larly dis­charg­ing into the wa­ter­course and re­duc­ing the wa­ter qual­ity for the wildlife and cre­at­ing an un­pleas­ant en­vi­ron­ment in the brook.”

The River Crane ( pic­tured above) is a trib­u­tary of the River Thames and runs for around 8.5 miles through west London.

Its source is Hayes and it fol­lows a semi-cir­cle to­wards Cran­ford and Heathrow be­fore wind­ing up in Isle­worth.

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