Liv Garfield’s reply

So here it is in full, the response to a letter and petition signed by 1200 people for Severn Trent Water to clear up the raw sewage pollution from their asset, by their 2.45 million a year CEO Liv Garfield.

I’m afraid as I suspected, she fails to see the issue of the sewage pollution and fails to even mention the proven fact that this occured and is the cause of the “avian botulism” that the birds on this site only began to suffer from AFTER the incident, and not BEFORE.

I’m glad she agrees that the situation at this site is “very disturbing”. It has given me and many other people a great deal of stress yet nothing compared to that suffered by the wildfowl at this lake and the two others that have been affected. You would think therefore that her company would want to put things right?  😥 Well obviously not when she doesn’t even appear to know the facts of the case.

She claims that they appointed an ecologist to do a report, but this is the first I have heard of this. I do not know if this is an independent cosultancy, or if this person even knew about the circumstances of the proven raw sewage event and the readings independently taken by the Environment agency which confirmed the presence of human faecal matter in the silt.

Garfield mentions the surface water sewer, but THIS IS NOT FROM WHERE THE RAW SEWAGE CAME FROM, even though raw sewage which flows from this brook course was seen by the environment agency running through the allotments site. The “unmapped asset”, as Severn Trent engineers called it which she does not mention was the source of this pollution in Margaret Gardens. One wonders if the ecologist even knew about this?

For the sake of clarity, here is what her own staff reported on the official Environment agency incident form. FFS!!



“Severn Trent have called back to give an update for NRIS 1696951. The crew have been out and confirmed that there is a misconnection at the location. The property in question, Margaret Gardens. Approx. 20 properties which connect to a foul line which then leads to a surface water line that then leads to the outfall. There is a lot of misconnection work to be done.”

Severn Trent would later claim that this was “an unmapped asset”.

She claims that the root cause of the issue is the over silting of the pool, which pushes the issue back at Sandwell council.

I am not arguing the fact that this local authority and its parks management over many years appear incompetent and unable to offer an explanation as to why this situation got as bad. But to divorce the recent fact of the raw sewage going into this pool, which correlates directly with the recent bird deaths in favour of historic blame is I am afraid just not acceptable of this company chief. RAW SEWAGE IS A PROVEN ENERGY SOURCE OF AVIAN BOTULISM. FACT. 


ACTION Raw sewage discharges into wetlands.  CONSEQUENCES OF ACTION – Nutrient enhancement resulting in “boom and bust” invertebrate populations and oxygen depletion causing deaths of aquatic and plant life.”

Garfield claims that “the primary issues Smethwick Hall Park are outside the remit of Severn Trent”– again a reference to Sandwell council appearing to have to carry the can.

She then offers 3 points.

  1. Mentioning once again the surface water red herring, which has nothing to do with the issues in the lake and the bird illness.
  2. Mention of a fund that STW runs- some £10 million over five years– compare this with their profits in 2018- CF £525 MILLION, and you can see how small this is. The maximum on offer to any bidder is £250,000. I have sent this letter, although Garfield has copied in Councillors Crompton and Ali anyway, to the two cabinet members for them to action their officers to apply for this money by putting in a bid. It is after all, largely the fault of Sandwell council to have monitored the silt part of this situation over many years, so it is the least they can do, if they claim they do not have the money to desilt the pool. The STW money relies on match funding, so SMBC would have to cough up some considerable dough anyway, but will they? 

I personally will have nothing to do with this application, as it is merely a promotional vehicle for the corporate polluter responsible for this issue to promote themselves in a positive light. They are a “reckless” company as has been seen already, and all that I am concerned with is the birds, not exactly the shitty little park owned by SMBC that they have unfortunately found a home on.

SMBC have not stated what their plans are for this pool, but with the breeding season approaching in March, one can see that this will be used as another feeble excuse for delay. There has already been enough of this already.

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Garfield also is open to an “urgent senior level” meeting with the council, which I asked for in the letter, so at least that is perhaps a little to take forward, but will the council set this up, or is it going to be another standoff?

I have no idea what communications or discussions have taken place “at senior level” between the two already, but so far they have excluded any local input.

The birds will continue to suffer until these two parties put matters right. Unfortunately in the face of previous incompetence, dithering and procrastination on this matter, I have little confidence that they will.


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