Smethwick Hall park- The Severn Trent “misconnections” Connection

There are serious pollution issues at this pool at present and proven sewage has gone into the pool, which as far  as I am concerned, are linked to the bird deaths at the site. Severn Trent have attempted to deny this, yet after receiving information from an FOI/EIR request to the environment agency about past reported pollution incidents under their National Incident Reporting scheme, there is an uncomfortable pattern which appears for this three star  ♠♠♠   environmental terrorist water company.

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A recent claim by Severn Trent Water stated that the water quality in the pool was much improved. LOL

The following details as revealed in this supplied information demonstrates that pollution “misconnections” as Severn Trent likes to call them, has been occurring for many years, in particular from Severn Trent Water’s apparatus. The reports go back as far as 2006. THEY ALSO DEMONSTRATE THAT AT LEAST ON SOME OF THEE OCCASSIONS, THERE HAVE ALSO BEEN NOTED TO BE DEAD BIRDS WHEN THESE POLLUTION INCIDENTS HAVE BEEN WITNESSED. 

00399837 17/5/2006

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“Caller reporting oil on the pond… there have been dead geese there and also dead fish recently.”

It appears that there was some confusion in the report originally, but little doubt after establishment, that Smethwick Hall Park was the polluted source of concern.

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“Sounds like wrong connections, and the dead birds are a cause for concern.”

“Smethwick hall park is quite heavily polluted by wrong connections and is also covered with litter to the extent that litter is the favoured nesting material for coots, no dead birds seen at time of visit, but seven were seen during a second visit a week later”

This report, from the EA officer themselves perhaps sets the scene, and is a sad indictment of not only Severn Trent’s failure, but also of Sandwell council’s to properly manage this litter strewn site.

This connects to following incident 00401674 24/5/2006

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“Report of four dead ducks & a misconnection to the pool Off Londonderry lane.” 

Severn Trent and Defra were informed, and presumably the birds were sent for post mortem. It is not clear what happened with this, but presumably no detailed post mortem was undertaken or investigation made into the clear link to the pollution concern.

“Pool is grey/blue with misconnections smell. Six dead ducks.”

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There is no evidence recorded as to how these “misconnections” were resolved, but I remember from conversations with former drainage engineer at SMBC, John Ashcroft, that Severn Trent had supposedly found “many”. The fact that these 2006 events again occurred into the summer months suggests that there may have been a die off of birds related to botulism evolving from a sewage “misconnection” again.

The following report I know to be one of mine concerning diesel going into the pool in 2013. 01085293     10/02/2013.

I reported this when I saw it, yet it appears that the EA attended in the fading light. 


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A 2016 incident, perhaps the red herring of the bunch, was reported by SMBC after motorbikes had been dumped into the pool which leaked diesel. 01413658   24/02/2016

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And then to this year, and another call that I know I made.

01672260 06/01/2019

I tried to give as much detailed information as possible, and at this time there was concern about the situation at Victoria Park Smethwick (and still is) with bird deaths. There appears to be some confusion recorded on here, as the collapsed sewer relates to Victoria Park and not Smethwick Hall. I noted a dead goose and duck were present on this occasion, which had not been there on my visit a week earlier.

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 What I didn’t get from this was much in the way of feedback, which looking at what is recorded below appears to demonstrate that sewage was already going into this pool and from the same source as later found in May.

Unfortuanely, as I have reported before, the EA now call the polluter to investigate the scene, rather than doing it themselves, and so Severn Trent attended this incident.

“08/01/2019 S. Roe (EA)  rang STWL for an update. Informed that a crew attended and a strong sewage odour was observed. Ammonia readings at the weir were 3.7 and 4.5 at end of lake.”

It is important here that Severn Trent themselves observed “a sewage odour”. As these readings were taken by Severn Trent themselves, they are not independent, and this needs to be questioned when looking at the source of the ammonia readings- usually indicative of sewage related releases.

Severn Trent again failed to locate this issue.

The ammonia readings relate to parts per million, with anything above 1 giving the EA cause for concern. They concluded that there were   “multiple misconnections”, but what exactly is the bloody point of stating this time and time again, yet failing to ever actually identify their source? 

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It is further revealed that Severn Trent had “placed a bung” at the outlet , I  think they mean inlet, to stop further pollution entering the lake. They also claimed to not be able to reach a suspected polluted manhole due to traffic. Again we get the same “multiple misconnections” which attempts to absolve them of any blame.

It appears at a later date that the EA were contacted by Severn Trent ti claim that they had traced one misconnection to a property. What happened to the “multiple” ?

It is also claimed that  CCTV camera was put down, possibly Margaret Gardens, (though this is redacted) where foul is entering the surface water sewer, ie shit is entering the lake. 

And then perhaps the final damning statement made by Severn Trent, which as we know was to prove utter bullshit.

“As far as we can tell from the extensive searches we have been conducting over the last few weeks, there are not any blockages contributing to this pollution and it seems to be multiple miscons that intermittently  pollute. “

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This is of course not the case, as was later proven by the incident in April, which I again reported.  01696951 24/4/2019


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Severn Trent reported finding “misconnections” at the inlet yet again :roll: and “faeces visible”.

I ask the question that given that they have now identified misconnections along a line in Margaret Gardens as to why “despite their extensive searches” just 3 months earlier they had failed to detect this?

It is however revealed that their own blockage of their own pipe was not found- again. 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.

“30/04/2019
 
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. “

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The lack of finding a blockage is bollocks

 

The subsequent NIRS form was also obtained from this FOI which relates to investigations the EA made on the brook course running into the pool, revealed by local campaigner Mike Allen amongst others to be highly polluted with both sewage and other chemicals.

01705882   01/05/2019

Multiple misconnections are again noted by the EA , though there appears over the course of this report to have been little progress made in finding them.


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I have to say from reading this it only further gives me the feeling that water companies, who were recently severely criticised by The EA in an annual report  for their “Generally woeful environmental performance”,  are failing to prevent these issues from arising, a product of a system where they are basically allowed to mark their own work.

Severn Trent Water can try to apportion blame onto those not fitting washing machines or other appliances correctly, but the question must now be asked after seeing for how long this has been going on and their failure to stop it as to whether it is time that Sandwell council , if they can, can disconnect Severn Trent’s apparatus from entering their beleaguered and polluted swamp off Stoney lane for good. I do not have ANY confidence that Severn Trent will prevent these occurrences in the future, nor in that they will be monitored sufficiently by a regulator under a system which is not fit for purpose. 

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