From Tony Konieczny, HVRA Chairman
This, hopefully, is the last update on the sewage situation in Hughenden Valley.
Thames Water has installed two 6″ pumps by the Surgery and Boss Lane. Together, these seem to be evacuating the sewers back up Valley Road. We wait to see if their suck will extend to Warrendene Rd, where there are leaking covers in peoples’ gardens. Discharge is into the stream, but at least the sewage is now filtered, but it is still full of bacteria, so please avoid all valley water where possible.
The Environment Agency has concerns about polluting watercourses, as we would want it to, so it was with understandable reluctance that they allowed Thames Water to do this. Thames Water were quick to provide a remedy once permission was given, but, given the disasters taking place elsewhere, could not immediately get the kit they wanted. It is easy to knock people and organisations for not doing something quickly enough, but if we have learned anything it is that we need to impress on those who can remedy the situation to take our warnings seriously early on. It was not until Hughenden Valley Residents Association were informed of the problem that a two-pronged attack was made that resulted in the issue being taken seriously by the EA and TW. But still, it has taken nearly three weeks where residents have been living in appalling conditions. That they have retained their good humour is to be applauded.
Now that the immediate problem seems to be under control, with TW monitoring the situation closely on a daily basis, we can turn our attention to getting recompense for those residents who have incurred significant expense in diverting sewage away from their houses. We are not too concerned about the clean up that will be needed, for TW have promised to do this as soon as the present danger is passed.
Simultaneously, we will be keeping up the pressure to get a proper solution to the problem for the forseeable future. Excessively wet winters seem to be a frequent event and must be planned for.
As I write, the stream is coping at Church Farm, but there is potential for significant damage should we get more rain. The long term solution needs to factor in the need to divert the stream safely away from these houses.
I would like to sincerely thank our Road Reps, the backbone of HVRA, without whom we would not be able to disseminate information and receive advice from experts in our midst. They are key to what makes living in this community the pleasure that it is.