Well. where to start with this one! Perhaps here, in May, when I previously outlined how I had reported raw sewage and other contaminants going into this small pool off Londonderry Lane Smethwick, just less than half a mile from where a new aquatics centre is being built for Sandwell’s bit part in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games of 2022.
Severn “stench” Trent, had had a blocked sewer from off the main road, as well as “misconnections” going into the pool from the inlet. Actually , I have been reporting these grey water issues for years, and had discussions about them with former SMBC drainage officer John Ashcroft. He has been retired many years, so it goes back this far!
I put in a freedom of information request to The Environment Agency about this specific incident, which can be read HERE.Monitoring data for Smethwick Hall park following human excrement contamination
“Please provide by electronic means all test data sets provided to you by Severn Trent Water at this pool located in Londonderry Lane Smethwick West Midlands from 1st January 2019 to the present day.
Please also supply all the actual test data sets taken by your own staff following the confirmed contamination of human excrement into the lake from Severn Trent Water apparatus.”
The EA responded with The National Incident Reporting System form (NIRS) for this job, numbered 01696951.
Some background info on how this works via the Common_incident_classification_system_04_01 , can be read in this previous blog post about how the EA are failing along with the Canal and Rivers Trust to accurately assess the real damage to the environment caused by environmental pollution. They are interested in only fish deaths, and not birds. It is a system devised by cretins, and no doubt by those who have financial interests in fisheries management and those former MP’s like Martin Salter who went on to get a job at The Angling Trust. IT DOES NOT CARE ABOUT THE DEMISE OF WILDFOWL- IT DOESN’T CARE AT ALL ABOUT THEIR DEMISE AND SLOW DEATH THROUGH POLLUTION.
This system has a range from 1-4, with 1 being the most serious- in their short sighted view.
The first thing I would like to point out about the supplied EA form, is the redaction of my name as the reporter of this initial incident. I have amended this below accordingly, and the observations that I made when the call was made on April 24th are noted.
This issue was then categorised as 3 on the CICS system and on the NIRS form- meaning that they attached low priority to it- also meaning that no EA officer actually was attending, but that they had basically informed the polluter Severn Trent to mark their own work. THIS IS WHY THIS SCHEME IS A FAILURE, AND ONE OPEN TO CORPORATE FRAUD.
It is however revealed that their own blockage of their own pipe was not found. What interest you could argue would it be in their interest to, given that they face a fine for such failures?
The EA staff then subsequently attended, finding their own observations.
P.Mullard and B.Baily attended the Smethwick Hall Pool finding the pool containing grey water and solid sewage. P.M and B.B collected water samples and sent them to the lab for analysis. Tom reported Severn Trent had attended on the 28/04/19 and not found a blockage. “
When in attendance with the EA, they found reduced oxygen levels and high ammonia levels around various points in the pool- obviously indicative of sewage pollution.
The EA supplied data they had taken as part of the exercise which can be read HERE.Unfortunately this doesn’t say very much.
ST then put in some PR management by putting a pump at the pool to recirculate water and expel the contaminated top layer. PLEASE REMEMBER HOWEVER, THAT AT THIS STAGE, THIS SEWAGE ISSUE HAD ALREADY BEEN OCCURRING FOR SOME TIME. Excrement, like everything else sinks, and forms into a layer on the bottom of whatever it rests on- in this case, years worth of silt and debris that had been accumulating over many, many years.
What happened next was a disastrous decision taken by kneejerk SMBC management to try to disguise this failure. They employ a contractor HILLS to allegedly clear out the debris of this pool which collects at the outlet. From here it flows into The Birmingham Canal. This clearly had not been done for MANY months and there was a thick layer of material blocking the water course. On lowering this they would have course be lowering the water level in the pool, which in turn made the contaminated silt more reachable to the birds, and the bacterial pathogens within it exposed to direct sunlight to multiply to their hearts content.
The sum total of SMBC’s managerial actions to protect the public at this stage was to erect this useless laminated sign. No communication was made to advise the public of this public health risk. Children were seen playing in the “mud”- silt contaminated excrement.
This turdberg was visible and accessible to the birds, and the water was black when they paddled through it.
Heras fencing put in to protect Severn Trent’s pump was also tossed into the crap heap.
THE RESULTING BIRD DEATHS
Within the last week many birds have been found ill and dead, suffering from botulism type symptoms- but let’s remember the direct causal link to this- the sewage pollution incident. The scene has been horrific, but yet again, to date SMBC have yet to take any practical action to prevent the birds from coming into contact with the contaminated area.
They have again knee jerked only due to the bad publicity and threat of it by putting up some token fencing, that s not doing anything at all. This same ploy occurred at Victoria Park Smethwick last year.
Severn Trent Water however have disgracefully attempted to distance themselves from their caused serious pollution incident in comments made in press articles, which unfortunately although mentioning the proven sewage pollution have given them enough room to apply “mystery” to the bird deaths- well there IS NO “MYSTERY” .
Comments about water quality are a nonsense, but a distraction technique away from the silt and taking samples of that which will confirm the botulism causing pathogens present.
In the FOI request, the EA supplied previous reported pollution incidents they have on record at the site, most likely ones I have reported going back to 2006. These were grey water issues , the same “misconnections” that ST have been blathering on about, but not preventing for years. I have now FOI’D these NIRS reports also to see what the EA recorded about them. By no means is this a full list of observations that myself and others have made, just the times that they have been reported.
|Notification #||Notification Date|
This incident makes bad timing for this persistent environmental polluter. An EA report into water company performance reveals that Severn Trent have been docked a star from their rating by the EA- from 4 to 3, personally don’t see how they even get 1.
Dave Throup, EA manager for H/W said in a tweet
“Generally woeful environmental performance by English water companies during 2018 highlighted in our annual report. Our local company @stwater performance has deteriorated and it failed to meet targets on discharges or ceilings on pollutions.”
THE FULL EA REPORT CAN BE READ HERE.
There is all sorts of talk now between the main players, but most if not all of it is bullshit. Talk about “working together” is crap; they are blaming one another behind the scenes. SMBC claim to have “fenced off the pool” yet children were seen playing in the same area the other night, and not all the ill birds were removed at all, when I went there.
If SMBC want to stop bird deaths, then they have to act fast, and block off the contaminated area to the birds.
But I don’t think they will do this, as this is SMBC, the same authority who in 2013/14 murdered 220 Canada geese by breaking their necks in two of their green flag parks. I’m sure that many in SMBC are loving this, a way to offload many more without apparently having to spend any money on doing so. BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE, SMBC, AND THE CABINET MEMBERS AND COUNCILLORS WILL BE JUDGED ON WHAT THEY DO NOT DO TO PREVENT MORE BIRDS FROM DYING AT THIS SITE.