Polluting a watercourse - info & advice please

bonefishblues

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Oct 7, 2013
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Near Bicester, Oxon
I wonder if you can help?

I spent the majority of the day at one of these country farm attractions - you know, tractor rides, lamb-bothering etc and very nice it was for our daughter.

As I arrived we walked over a small stream and I smelled something I hadn't smelled for a long time, and sure enough I looked down and saw an obviously polluted little stream - black slimy and obviously lifeless. Logged it in the memory and got on with stuff. A little later I looked at the stream about 75 metres upstream and it was as clear as a bell, and thriving.

To cut a long story short after a little bit of jungle warfare I found the culprit, a discharge pipe leading suspiciously in the direction of the toilet block, discharging grey and nasty water. I took two or three photos and scrambled back to civilisation before I was noticed.

I suppose I have a couple of questions:
Could there be any situation where such discharge could be allowed/licenced?
Assuming that the answer is no, to whom do I report this?

I was genuinely shocked, I really didn't expect to see that in this day and age, and especially at a sort of eco-attraction.

Appreciate any advice, thanks.
 

warrenslaney

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Youlgrave
ALWAYS ask for a NIRS number and a call back from the attending officer. This makes sure the EA at least visit and explain to you what they are going to do. You can follow it up months later with the number. Our EA EO is second to none but it wasnt always like that and it isnt like that everywhere.
 

bonefishblues

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Near Bicester, Oxon
I have my reference number and quoted it when forwarding the two photos showing the discharge taking place.

I couldn't make it any easier for them, so I do hope it does get followed up. I'll be back to check for myself in any event, since we it's now officially my daughter's favourite place on earth!
 

pikecatcher

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Sep 11, 2007
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Phone the EA pollution number on 0800 80 70 60

On the other hand, I have twice reported pollution incidents, sure they phoned me back but their response was pathetic.
 

joebarnes

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Jan 26, 2013
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Before the days of the Internet I reported a discharge from the local hound kennels, this caused me to become something of a pariah, which I found somewhat ironic since I was the only one living in the valley that was born there.
I actually reported the leak to the Police as it was a health risk. The kennels installed new septic tanks and the whole area has now returned to a safe and pleasant one!
Best of luck with it!
 

bonefishblues

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Near Bicester, Oxon
So to follow up, after a re-chase I got a call on this earlier this week.

It had been around the houses and had not been investigated for a while, and my box was marked "no follow up" hence no call to me.

The EA lady said that they had made contact with the Centre, who had explained that it may have been a temporary peak that had overwhelmed their treatment arrangements for their toilet block, and had provided images of the discharge running clear. It was due to be serviced and inspected by a contractor and they would then report back to the EA.

I'm thinking that what I smelled was human, not bull, but now I suspect the latter...

That stream was dead, black slimy and stinking, not temporarily overwhelmed.

If anybody happens to be in the vicinity of here: Bucklebury Farm Park | A great value day out in Berkshire. and fancies a quick check and report back, you can park in the car park and the stream passes under the path on the way into the centre.

Be good to hear I'm wrong, but I'll make a point of checking the next time I'm in the area, unlike the EA, seemingly.
 

beryl

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Mar 18, 2012
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Well done for persisting! I seem to recall the EA have suffered heavy cuts in the name of austerity and some prioritising will be enevitable but ignoring members of the public reporting is bad strategy.
 
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