'It's an open sewer': Call for action after raw sewage spews into stream

sewage spills into alders brook

Poo, wet wipes and condoms spew into the Alders Brook. - Credit: Paul Powlesland

A group has called for action after poo, wet wipes and condoms spewed into a stream which flows into the River Roding.

Volunteers clearing rubbish from the banks of the watercourse watched in disgust as the waste poured into Alders Brook from a sewer outlet on March 27.

Paul Powlesland said: "I felt disgust and really sad for the river and people who live nearby.

"The Roding was affected less, but the Alders Brook - there is nothing alive in it. It's full of wet wipes and mud that stinks of poo. It's just an open sewer."

He estimated hundreds of thousands of litres of raw sewage would have gushed into the stream.

Mr Powlesland, who is chair of trustees at the River Roding Trust, discovered the leak near Lugg Approach, off Romford Road, after tracking a stench to its source.


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He said waste would have been carried into the Roding, which travels through Redbridge and Barking and Dagenham, and then into the River Thames.

litter pickers on the alders brook

Volunteers were litter-picking and clearing fly-tipped waste from the Alders Brook when the spillage was discovered. - Credit: Paul Powlesland

The Trust called on Thames Water to explain how long spills there have been going on; to install a monitor so the company isn't reliant on people reporting incidents; upgrading the sewer system and committing at least £50,000 to restore the Alders Brook.

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A spokesperson for Thames Water said the company responded quickly to the incident which was down to fat, oil and grease blocking the sewer.

"The blockages caused the sewer to back up and spill over into the surface water drain, which flows into the river, and this is how the sewage came to be in the water," she added.

The blockages have been cleared and the affected area is due to be cleared up in the next few days.

The sewer is being inspected daily until the firm can be sure there are no more obstructions.

The spokesperson said: "This incident serves as a strong reminder to everyone that cooking fat and oil must never go down the sink.

"We urge our customers to protect their own homes and the environment from sewage flooding by allowing fat and oil to cool before putting it in the bin."

The outlet into the Alders Brook is not a combined sewer overflow, where water companies are granted permits to discharge sewage into watercourses when the system gets full.

For details, visit: thameswater.co.uk/binitcampaign

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