Viewing 34 posts - 81 through 114 (of 114 total)
  • Sh*tstorm – dumping raw sewage in rivers
  • wwaswas
    Full Member

    Not everyone will be pleased by the government’s apparent u-turn on this issue.

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    What definitely isn’t a panacea is privatisation. The irreconcilability of the conflicting interests of shareholders and consumers and the environment, with regards to the water industry, guarantees that.

    We have a mixed model in the UK, Scotland and NI are public sector, DCWW are a hybrid, rest are either FTSE or privately owned.

    What hasn’t been happening is effective regulation by OFWAT, it’s soft policies have allowed deterioration of assets and “phantom” assets to continue to be claimed on the RAV. This allows WICS to be soft on Scottish Water because the comparator is so poor.

    What no-one seems to want to say is that the industry has been allowing itself to put a veneer of shininess over a deteriorating asset base. Every year in all water companies the average age of the water and sewer network goes up. Every year.

    Add in environmental regulation where they don’t take routine samples at weekends and you get pumps and dosing rigs turned off to save opex. Etc etc

    alanl
    Free Member

    I don’t know how Welsh Water fare with regards to dumping raw sewerage though.

    It isnt great. There was a bit of a controversy recently when turds and paper were seen floating down the Dee at Llangollen. It turned out it wasnt campers, who were the first target group, but the houses that line the river. Some of them have never been connected to the public sewer supply, so their waste water goes straight into the river.
    Yep, 2021, and that still happens.
    Apparently, there are many more 1000’s of places that do not have sewer access all over Wales, but that doesnt always meanthey all do a river discharge, they could have their own septic tank etc.
    The bigger issue in South Wales is the Wye, with farming discharge and run off slowly suffocating the river. Its chemical analysis this year has been the worst for 60+ years, whereas most rivers are a lot cleaner than even 20 years ago.

    gowerboy
    Full Member

    There was a bit of a controversy recently when turds and paper were seen floating down the Dee at Llangollen. It turned out it wasnt campers, who were the first target group, but the houses that line the river. Some of them have never been connected to the public sewer supply, so their waste water goes straight into the river.

    Direct discharges to a water course are illegal. They usually occur as a result of a misconnection. When these are discovered they are usually sorted out with advice/notices/enforcement from the council and/or regulator or by the water company if their surface water sewer is involved. More info here: http://www.connectright.org.uk/

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Have they even said where that ridiculous number came from? It seems pretty obviously just chosen to seem big (and no coincidence that it’s usefully bigger than the figures for privatized profits). I mean, if your estimate has a range of half a trillion pounds it’s obviously a worthless estimate in the first place but I’m more assuming that it’s made up.

    wwaswas
    Full Member

    The upper estimate was the cost envisaged to replace the entire sewerage network from scratch and at the same time completely separate rainwater and sewage networks. This was literally all of it whether it needed doign or not. There’s a report the government have been sitting on that lays it out and specifically recommends that the nuclear option is not needed and a scheme costing about £6/household/month would be just as effective.

    Scienceofficer
    Free Member

    This is nothing new TBH and is small scale compared to what used to happen prior to the 90s.

    The urban waste water directive really made a difference and it needed to because it was bloody horrendous.

    Enforcement is now the problem.

    piemonster
    Full Member

    I don’t know how Welsh Water fare with regards to dumping raw sewerage though.

    Post heavy rain raw sewage contamination along the coast is not uncommon in Scotland.  To the point where the advice is heavy rain means stay out of the water. Theres a couple of rivers nearby that always stink of sewage after heavy rain.

    I’ve certainly seen enough “stuff” (whilst in a boat) after heavy rain to take a hard pass on  being in the water. I dont know if it’s better or worse than Wales/England/N Ireland.

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    Direct discharges to a water course are illegal.

    There has been little action on this, plenty of them into SAC’s in the lakes

    IdleJon
    Full Member

    Post heavy rain raw sewage contamination along the coast is not uncommon in Scotland. To the point where the advice is heavy rain means stay out of the water.

    I was about to take my daughter paddle boarding down the Tawe a few weeks ago, and by chance my wife noticed an announcement on social media warning about a discharge just below where we were planning to launch. The advice was to stay out of the river AND bay – that’s about 4-5 miles. There had been rain the night before, but not particularly heavy.

    (The Tawe isn’t a particularly clean river at the best of times..)

    ferrals
    Free Member

    There’s a program on itv at 7.30 this evening about this.

    Jon- I think the Tawe issue was a broken sewage pipe so not rainfall related, it was just spilling the whole time. I believe that’s been fixed though.

    The issue is in the UK it rains a lot so staying out of the water after rain means never going in!

    csb
    Full Member

    The farming industry is absolutely laughing (well, keeping their heads well down) about the furore over sewage and water companies. The stats show that it’s agri runoff that is the biggest problem, biodiversity trashed. But poos are emotive I guess.

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    The farming industry is absolutely laughing (well, keeping their heads well down) about the furore over sewage and water companies. The stats show that it’s agri runoff that is the biggest problem, biodiversity trashed. But poos are emotive I guess

    The EA have been recruiting to start to tackle this. A long way to go.

    ferrals
    Free Member

    Yes, I’m pretty sure diffuse and other agricultural pollution is also in the bill? A lot of it, things like buffer zones to reduce surface run-off, are also linked to flooding etc. I guess it’s comparatively easy to do compared to re-plumbing the sewer network too!

    singletrackmind
    Full Member

    The boards of these big water companies are probably on performance related bonuses
    Big ftse100 companies also set up share options for the board.
    The guys at the top would be hit financially if the government took charge, accepted that the system was flawed and mandated change that will cost each compamy say £ 1 billion a year.
    Even then it would never get finished

    Kuco
    Free Member

    The problem with the EA is the funding in the departments keeps getting cut and people are leaving as they can earn more money elsewhere and because the pay is no longer competitive they struggle to get people in and if they do it takes a couple of years to fully train an EM officer and once trained they often move on.

    b230ftw
    Free Member

    Kuco – exactly. I left the EA last year, pay was abysmal. I wasn’t replaced, I was an Environment Officer.
    From speaking to people still there it seems numbers of staff are reducing still.
    Takes 18 months to get an EO up to speed and able to take on case files. And once you are there you can never get another pay rise, so despite me being chartered and having a huge amount of experience they won’t do anything to pursuade you to stay. Probably can’t.

    I think it’s £29k now for someone fully qualified? Start on £24k as a trainee? Ridiculously low for such a responsible and complex job when there were so many middle managers making no difference to the environment at all.

    My new job in a water company pays me a lot more and is a lot easier!!

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    My new job in a water company pays me a lot more and is a lot easier!!

    It’s now all your fault

    cloggy
    Full Member

    Just a few points
    I We were sold privitisation on the basis it would improve matters by allowing much needed infrastructure upgrades. [The Victorians however considered water to be an unsuitable candidate for privitisation.] That’s verifiable by checking Hansard.
    2 Brexit is a factor since it has made it more difficult/ expensive for the water companies to access certain chemicals.
    3 Now that we are no longer in Europe we can forget about having to hold to certain standards, however poor they were, so Brexit again. Brexit has enabled the Severn Barrage to rear it’s ugly head for a third time. This utterly failed to comply with European environmental standards the last time round, and it was going to be very very expensive: but in the manner of the rail link fiasco, that won’t stop companies looking to cash in on Government projects. Personally, with the amount of sediment the Severn Estuary carries, I wonder how long it would take to silt up. Parts of Herefordshire are said to have about another 100 years of topsoil cover at the present rate of denudation.
    Direct Sewage Discharges are not illegal. I got payed to survey one Welsh River for sutability for White Water canoeing. Apart from crossing and recrossing sewage pipes decapitating participants it just happened that the proposed egress site was a CSO [Combined Sewage Outfall]. CSO’s are allowed to spew raw sewage during white water conditions…..

    Northwind
    Full Member

    Kuco
    Full Member

    The problem with the EA is the funding in the departments keeps getting cut and people are leaving as they can earn more money elsewhere and because the pay is no longer competitive they struggle to get people in and if they do it takes a couple of years to fully train an EM officer and once trained they often move on.

    Yup, and all very intentional of course- one thing modern Tories are amazing at is failing in the direction they want to go. Theresa May’s entire time in the home office was full of this, austerity was almost entirely about it, it’s the sure and safe way to attack the NHS, and it works great for regulation as well. Hard to convince people to vote for relaxing regulations. Incredibly easy to leave the same regulations in place and just destroy the process that’s supposed to enforce it- easier in fact than doing it properly.

    Kuco
    Free Member

    f230ftw it’s still the same, if anything it’s getting worse. I’m in a different department and not EM but spoke to someone only last week who is a TL in EM and they are getting fed up. But it’s the same across all departments rather sadly.

    slowoldman
    Full Member

    I warn you – this column contains filth

    Stewart Lee’s take on it.

    b230ftw
    Free Member

    “ Yup, and all very intentional of course- one thing modern Tories are amazing at is failing in the direction they want to go.”

    To be fair it’s got nothing to do with what government is in power. The money in the EA does not do a good job of getting to the “coal face”.
    As a great example the environmental permits for waste sites were changed recently and he charges were increased to “properly pay for the cost of regulation”. Which is fair enough but that didn’t mean more officers to regulate agains those permits. A TL in our office did the sums after getting some inside info from a very senior manager and we found that the local EM teams were getting less than 20% of the money we were taking in permit fees.

    Another issue was the the flooding side was always getting more money and staff with the same expertise in that department as an EO were on the next pay grade up. Really really unfair.

    If the EA got the amount of money at the front end they needed it would be very different.

    Mintyjim
    Full Member

    I have a friend who’s a lawyer for NRW (essentially the EA in Wales) and after the recent Panarama episode about water companies and sewage I asked why wasn’t anyone prosecuted in Dwr Cymru when their releases into rivers were breaking the law. He said that the powers that be in government stop them doing it.
    What’s the point eh?
    Just another corrupt joke. Like HMRC tax lawyers targeting lowly individuals and leaving the big players alone.
    What chance has the environment/COP26 got when we can’t/won’t even effectively target sewerage and tax.

    ratherbeintobago
    Full Member

    Eliminating storm spills will be very difficult and costly.

    Not just on the water companies, this one – increasing suburbanisation and e.g. tarmacking of front gardens to make driveways aren’t helping with run-off. Surely needs to be a big effort on reducing this and upstream slowing the flow, as well as improving sewerage?

    kelvin
    Full Member

    jam-bo
    Full Member

    Eliminating storm spills will be very difficult and costly.

    if only it were just storm spills.

    they are doing it all the time and the government just gave them mandate to keep doing it.

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    He said that the powers that be in government stop them doing it.

    Devolution politics for you, nobody wants to be prosecuting their sacred cows as it will make them look bad.

    You would have thought someone would whistle blow on it though

    BillMC
    Full Member

    All those beaches in the South West getting the brown flag and yet they always return Tory MPs. Must be something in the water.

    big_n_daft
    Free Member

    All those beaches in the South West getting the brown flag and yet they always return Tory MPs. Must be something in the water.

    SW used to be even worse with no treatment and not very long outfalls.

    Reminds me of visiting a Scottish castle which was lochside watching the toilet paper float away after hearing the flush of the visitor toilets

    Ultimately it’s a failure of regulation, the companies have been claiming returns based on maintaining assets, they haven’t been maintaining them anywhere near enough and should take the pain to fix rather than loading customer bills. If they want to hand back to the state for free that’s always open to them and then former directors can be criminally charged once the decisions are brought into the open.

    BillMC
    Full Member

    I remember when SW Water had to cough up a £1m compo to Croyde Bay Holidays (1990?), surfing there meant you got the squits. Now it’s back to where it was. Sold my longboard just before all this bubbled up, can’t imagine demand would have been great now.

    jam-bo
    Full Member

    All those beaches in the South West getting the brown flag and yet they always return Tory MPs. Must be something in the water.

    tories dont surf.

    BillMC
    Full Member

    Maybe so but they own holiday lets, hotels, shops and pubs.

Viewing 34 posts - 81 through 114 (of 114 total)

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