Untreated sewage was flowing into local canal

STINKING water flowing into the Wey Navigation at West Byfleet has been found to be untreated sewage coming from a damaged pipe.

The smelly liquid has been running out of a storm drain in Dartnell Park Road since the beginning of November.

Andrew Turner took these photographs of scum-covered black liquid flowing into the Wey Navigation

The drain flows into the canal at the end of Andrew Turner’s garden, where an unpleasant odour alerted him to the problem.

Mr Turner reported the presence of slimy, scum-covered black liquid to Thames Water, which sent an engineer to investigate.

“The engineer suggested that it might be stagnant water, but the water had been flowing freely for at least three weeks,” he said. “Also, the smell is not of decomposing vegetation.

“We have lived in our house for close to 40 years, under many different weather conditions, but never before experienced an event like this.

Thames Water originally attributed the smell to stagnant water, but upon further investigation found that one of its sewer pipes had been ruptured

“The storm drain serves at least 10 properties in the road, and there are children living either side of us who could be affected by the pollution.”

Mr Turner was at first told that the case was closed following the engineer’s visit but was later told that a specialist team had been sent to investigate further.

He said engineers had worked all day and found a pipe coming from a sewage pumping station on land near West Hall, off Parvis Road, had been damaged and was leaking.

“They told me the pipe was broken but the pumps were still working and untreated sewage was getting into the land drains,” said Mr Turner. “The pumps were turned off so that repairs could be made.”

A spokesman for Thames Water said last week: ““The sewage began to enter the watercourse when a third party damaged one of our sewer pipes.

“To stop any further spills, we’re using tankers to take away the sewage that would normally flow through the damaged pipe while we get it fixed.

“One of our customer service representatives visited Mr Turner to explain what had happened and we thank him for taking the time to report the problem.”

She added that Thames Water would try to recoup the repair costs from whoever damaged the pipe.

Mr Turner also reported the spillage to the Environment Agency, which told the News & Mail: “Water companies have a legal duty to avoid pollution and must act quickly to reduce the effects of any damage that happens to their infrastructure.

“We always encourage people to report pollution incidents to us via our 24-hour free incident hotline on 0800 807060, so that our local teams can investigate.”

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