Sewage in our rivers....the water companies have to be stopped

shropshire_lad

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The oil industry had a pollution problem in that folks would drop the engine oil out of the car to do a service, then that oil would get dumped down the drain or put back in a used 5 ltr. container and put in the bin etc.

So oil retailers are actually supposed to take the waste oil back if you have are receipt showing you bought the oil from them in the first place. They then ensure it is given back to the original manufacturer, for proper disposal, or conversion into some other saleable commodities - heating oil etc...

So why don’t we do the same with shiit! Just take it back to the supermarket with last week’s till receipt, and let them deal with it. They supplied the ingredients,,they dispose of the waste, all paid for when you purchased your groceries.. 😀

...would love to see CEO of Tesco’s face right now! 🤣🤣
Now that's what I call thinking outside the box (y)

But seriously, some people are actually doing that with packaging and they have my respect :cool:
 

bonefishblues

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The key issue we must not lose sight of is how many discharges are occurring when they should not be and why? In other words, are the water companies using CSOs and STWs to discharge routinely when they shouldn't be? I suspect I know the answer to that but I have yet to watch the Panorama programme.
I agree, and understand that a fully-resilient system cannot be built (without massive cost, anyway).

I posted on this last week after looking at the statistics for the area via the Rivers Trust interactive site. It's absolutely clear that some treatment works are routinely discharging. I don't think it's quite an 80-20 rule, but not far off, just based on a cursory glance.
Target those and we could make a real dent relatively quickly, but in the case of one I now know well, in discussion with the neighbouring village's Parish Council they have been crusading about their system for some years, to no avail - and yet the numbers are all there - in black and sh1te!
 

shropshire_lad

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I agree, and understand that a fully-resilient system cannot be built (without massive cost, anyway).

I posted on this last week after looking at the statistics for the area via the Rivers Trust interactive site. It's absolutely clear that some treatment works are routinely discharging. I don't think it's quite an 80-20 rule, but not far off, just based on a cursory glance.
Target those and we could make a real dent relatively quickly, but in the case of one I now know well, in discussion with the neighbouring village's Parish Council they have been crusading about their system for some years, to no avail - and yet the numbers are all there - in black and sh1te!
What I don't understand is if the Water Companies are discharging routinely and, critically, illegally, why are they not being prosecuted routinely? Like I said earlier, yet to watch the Panorama programme so maybe this sheds some light?
 

bonefishblues

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I suspect I know. Building a case for prosecution, evidence, lawyers, barristers, etc, takes years and costs significant amounts. The EA does not have the resources.
Too much, too endemic, I agree that's likely - so how about, since the discharges are self-declared, that we have a Fixed Penalty approach once over threshold? [And truly draconian penalties for any attempt at manipulation of stats]
 

BobP

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What I don't understand is if the Water Companies are discharging routinely and, critically, illegally, why are they not being prosecuted routinely? Like I said earlier, yet to watch the Panorama programme so maybe this sheds some light?
A couple of weeks ago I met one of my ex-colleagues quite by accident while I was fishing. We had a chat and he said that during the pandemic the staff had simply not been allowed to go out of the office. So, if there are no boots on the ground there is no-one to see the discharges and no prosecutions to follow.
 

bonefishblues

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Another discharge reported this afternoon. This time direct to Anglian as it's from private properties - I have to say that my experience is that the Water Companies themselves are rather more switched on than the EA IME.

[And the sad thing is I'm not going looking for them :(]
 

loxie

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I suspect I know. Building a case for prosecution, evidence, lawyers, barristers, etc, takes years and costs significant amounts. The EA does not have the resources.
The EA are part of DEFRA and are not particularly independent. They almost never prosecute water companies or farmers and that is due to deliberate government policy. If water companies had to clean up properly the cost, which will be passed on to the consumer, would be enormous. Large water bills are negative publicity for government. Prices are also controlled so investment is linked in to pricing and pricing is linked in to government policy. With farming DEFRA again deliberately discourage any prosecution of farmers, expect where have have a major incident. Most of the issues are caused by diffuse pollution which is totally ignored by the EA.
 

shropshire_lad

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If water companies had to clean up properly the cost, which will be passed on to the consumer, would be enormous.
I think there are two separate issues here.

Upgrading the network, where necessary, is a legitimate cost that can be passed on to the consumer. This is happening in London with the construction of two huge new tunnels to reduce storm discharges to the Thames. Ultimately, the consumer pays.

Pollution incidents are a separate issue and solely the water companies' responsibility and it is for the Regulator to take action.
 

ed_t

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They use a fraction of the energy of an electric car and we will all be driving those in the not too distant future.

A composting toilet would be a difficult sell to most I’d say. We are too used to flush and forget.
Much the same as rubbish and recycling. We put the bins out and it disappears, most people don’t want to think about it past that point.
You're still ignoring atmospheric pollution. Incinerating toilets will use excess energy and create atmospheric pollution. Composting, whilst not suggested by you will create atmospheric pollution.

A sewage treatment works with bio-digestion will create excess electricity.
 

morayfisher

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You're still ignoring atmospheric pollution. Incinerating toilets will use excess energy and create atmospheric pollution. Composting, whilst not suggested by you will create atmospheric pollution.

A sewage treatment works with bio-digestion will create excess electricity.
I take your point but what we have now clearly isn’t working and we are over abstracting and polluting our rivers at the same time.
 

bonefishblues

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Another discharge reported this afternoon. This time direct to Anglian as it's from private properties - I have to say that my experience is that the Water Companies themselves are rather more switched on than the EA IME.

[And the sad thing is I'm not going looking for them :(]
Excuse the self-quote but an interesting one, with some good, some bad,and some I'll take a look at, unless someone can advise.
The good
Anglian were out on site (once they'd found it!) in under 3 hours and left me a voicemail message by way of follow up.
The bad
Nothing to do with them, they say. Talk to Environmental Health, because we don't have any installations here, so not our bag.
The stuff I'm not sure about.
To be clear, there is human-derived effluent flowing down a ditch towards a stream that leads to a tributary of the Great Ouse, but:
It was suggested by the landowner that the run-off was from a large muck-heap, which isn't correct, and its 'nose' rather confirmed its human origin.
It was said by Anglian Man that as the ditch, stream etc is on a large private estate, no problem.
It was also said that the septic tank overflow is licensed, according to the landowner.

Any thoughts, anyone?
 

bonefishblues

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Check the discharge consent status with the EA or possibly online ( they're published in Whats In My Backyard, postcode search) and let them know there's an issue.
Excellent, thanks. I think I'm also going to speak to an EHO - it has to be a public health issue being directly adjacent to a public footpath.
 

shropshire_lad

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Excuse the self-quote but an interesting one, with some good, some bad,and some I'll take a look at, unless someone can advise.
The good
Anglian were out on site (once they'd found it!) in under 3 hours and left me a voicemail message by way of follow up.
The bad
Nothing to do with them, they say. Talk to Environmental Health, because we don't have any installations here, so not our bag.
The stuff I'm not sure about.
To be clear, there is human-derived effluent flowing down a ditch towards a stream that leads to a tributary of the Great Ouse, but:
It was suggested by the landowner that the run-off was from a large muck-heap, which isn't correct, and its 'nose' rather confirmed its human origin.
It was said by Anglian Man that as the ditch, stream etc is on a large private estate, no problem.
It was also said that the septic tank overflow is licensed, according to the landowner.

Any thoughts, anyone?
Possibly a poorly maintained septic tank or someone pumping out and illegally discharging to the ditch?

The landowner suggests it's run-off from a large muck heap? Can you get him to put that in writing and forward it to the EA (not that that will do much good)? Pollution sources should be managed, run-off is unacceptable.
 

bonefishblues

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Possibly a poorly maintained septic tank or someone pumping out and illegally discharging to the ditch?

The landowner suggests it's run-off from a large muck heap? Can you get him to put that in writing and forward it to the EA (not that that will do much good)? Pollution sources should be managed, run-off is unacceptable.
No, I haven't seen the landowner, the Anglian guy said he came out when he saw him & his van on the footpath and was reporting what he said.

TBH the Anglian bloke had the air of wanting to go home for his tea. He was a 'not my bag' guy who explained that he had to go through the motions (pun intended) because it had been reported.
There's absolutely no doubt, even to the untrained nose that the discharge's origin was human.

Meanwhile I'm continuing to guide & advise the neighbouring Parish Council re illegal discharges from their Thames Water 'treatment' plant...
 

BobP

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The EA are part of DEFRA and are not particularly independent. They almost never prosecute water companies or farmers and that is due to deliberate government policy. If water companies had to clean up properly the cost, which will be passed on to the consumer, would be enormous. Large water bills are negative publicity for government. Prices are also controlled so investment is linked in to pricing and pricing is linked in to government policy. With farming DEFRA again deliberately discourage any prosecution of farmers, expect where have have a major incident. Most of the issues are caused by diffuse pollution which is totally ignored by the EA.
You obviously aren't aware - or have chosen to deliberately ignore it - that Thames Water were quite recently fined a record amount due to an EA prosecution. So, to say that the EA don't prosecute water companies or farmers is an obvious lie.

Anyone with even the slightest knowledge of the legal side will know that prosecution is an expensive business and the EA isn't in the business of spending public money if there is an alternative way of getting the same effect. Give someone - a fish farmer for example - a formal written caution which is recorded and they mend their ways and don't re-offend then the desired result has been achieved. You want him to stop sending water with a high suspended solids reading for example down the nearest stream and he achieves that in the desired time frame then the EA has achieved its objective at minimal cost. If they don't mend their ways then a prosecution will follow because there is a record of a formal caution requiring him behave.

Something really funny from the past. There was a very badly performing STW on the Trent and everyone, anglers, boaters etc., had complained about it for a very long time. Finally the water company did something about it and cleaned up their act. Very shortly after the work had finished the anglers started complaining that the water was too clear & clean and they couldn't catch fish because the cormorants could see the fish too easily.

There is nothing on earth was weird as anglers.
 
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BobP

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What's weird with complaining about cormorant predation?

I can see that a simple understanding is beyond some, so here goes. Before the STW was upgraded the water was murky. The fish were there and could be caught. After the upgrade the water was clear but the anglers' catches declined. They blamed it on the cormorants eating all the fish that they had been unable to see prior to the upgrade. Get it now?
 

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