It has been over two years now since the ghastly horror show caused by private water company Severn Trent PLC at Smethwick Hall park, where raw sewage resulted in the deaths of dozens of birds.
This pollution as it transpired had been happening for several years before this, as an FOI request to The Environment agency revealed.
Before this, a similar event was occurring at Victoria Park in the same town , a pool fed by the Thimblemill brook, (see further below in this post), some of which is culverted, but other areas allowing a view of pollution flowing through it.
This blog has uncovered a great deal about these events, and investigated how this company have been failing for years to control what goes through their network, as well as causing pollution through their own negligence and also deliberate folly. They have been fined again and again, but it is not enough, and too much they are getting away with, as this case proves.
There are two phrases which need to be properly defined in conjunction with reading this post, and both have been deliberately misused by both Severn Trent and the environment agency in an appalling effort to try to dismiss the events as somehow “natural”.
The fact is is that these deaths do not occur on all pools in the summer, and do not occur as a result of “climate change” or anything else. They occur due to linked pollution events where sewage and human waste enters waters where it never should have and this then starts the poisoning of the environment by the die off of small invertebrates which are then ingested by the wildfowl. To call this
“AVIAN BOTULISM” is a grotesque and disingenuous lie, as I have alluded to before. They claim it to be “natural”, but cannot answer as to why it only appears to occur in certain heavily populated urban areas, and never countryside areas, and why not in all water bodies within these urban areas, just the ones where manmade pollution and human faeces is visible. I WOULD LIKE TO STATE AT THIS POINT THAT I KNOW I AM RIGHT IN STATING THAT ALL “AVIAN BOTULISM” IS BEING CAUSED BY WATER COMPANY FAILURE IN ALLOWING RAW SEWAGE TO ENTER WATER COURSES.
It suits both the failed private water companies and the EA as their useless regulator to attempt to defraud the public of the facts in this matter, and so a symbiotic relationship emerges where they both lie about the direct pollution through manmade cause. The human health risks are also played down, and one should perhaps look more closely at outbreaks of e-coli and norovirus and people’s contact with water bodies that have become polluted with human waste. This used to be the bread and butter of what “public health” was about, but now we appear to be dominated by a “pandemic” where they even attempt to track an alleged virus, rather than human shite entering water bodies where it causes more damage.
This term is a lie because it appears to water down and suggest the threat of the pollution as being less harmful to the environment than it really is. STW would like the public to believe that this is just “dirty water” from washing machines, but what it really is is everything flushed down the bog untreated going straight into a water course. Why lie behind a word, we can see exactly what it is, so stop treating the public like fucking fools!
STW have been claiming they have been working on this for over two years now, and indeed it has come to my attention that one of the properties was an express supermarket store located up the road from Smethwick Hall park. From what we have seen , they have not done the job of preventing raw sewage going straight into this watercourse. IT’S A HUMAN HEALTH RISK, AND EVERYONE KNOWS IT.
SMETHWICK HALL PARK
After Sandwell council had forged ahead with a partial desilting of the pool , there had not been any recorded deaths, (at least not seen by us), that is until around the end of July , which followed a noted sewage pollution incident in the lake. Two dead geese were reported, and following this, dead coots and mallards.
There were the usual used bum rag tissue remains, sewage fur and sanitary towels lining the pool inlet area, along with grey foul smelling water punctuated by floating globs of shite.
Unfortunately, this area is serving as a sewage filter bed at present, allowing algal growth to explode around it. It is an area where the birds, particularly smaller ones gather to dabble. I believe strongly that this is what is causing the worst of the deaths.
I made a video venting my spleen about the situation which can be seen below on our facebook page.
As before, we thought the best way to proceed was to erect a fence out of this area to stop the birds entering. We were not going to wait for the inaction of SMBC again to do this.
Following the isolation of this area from the birds, there have been no subsequent deaths, though some braindead tosser keeps throwing split peas into the area which are now turning mouldy!
It is quite apparent that this area was not dredged by the council contractor, and this is a poor oversight on their part.
I reported the matter as always to the EA, and obtained a reference number. I knew full well of course that the useless EA would just pass this on to the polluters- Severn Trent to investigate. On this note I saw two STW staff pay a less than 5 minute visit to the site to apparently take a water sample from the inlet end. No tests were done at any other points on the pool during this visit.
The other observation concerned the allotments, through which this heavily polluted water flows into the pool. I saw some individuals using a mechanical digger on the site, and it was clear that some excavation work was proceeding. I was told by an SMBC employee that a pipe was located in the area.
What is also clear is that the van that had bought the digger had the Severn Trent logo on its side, as I have seen the company AMEY a subcontractor use this, I assumed it to be them, but what were they actually doing on the site?
Both the EA and SMBC park managers contacted STW where they were told that STW denied going onto the site. I was separately told when enquiring about what had happened by the EA local office for an update that STW had located “misconnections” and had “tankered out” the pollution from this site. I asked them “had they jet washed this out so it came down the stream, and therefore into the pool”, where I was told they had not.
I contacted Ross Stokes, and Andrew Fairburn of STW, who we had met on site a year before claiming that STW would be doing all kinds of wonderful things, which have yet to ever transpire, as well as sending SMBC down a diverted path for their so called “community fund” which they turned down.
The response I received denies that STW or their operatives were on site, so I am still therefore baffled as to what actually happened here and what individuals appear to be covering up. Perhaps some dodgy character is going around pretending to be “the water board” on a van having the Severn Stench logo on it doing foreigners? This claim is also entirely different from what the EA told me and so it is little more than bullshit.
I’ve made a formal complaint about the EA in relation to this incident, and their lack of response where I have also asked for the incident response form. I was told by the officer that they did not come out “due to Government cuts”. I would like to see this in writing, and have also taken this up with my Conservative MP, who may also have something to say about that.
As for SMBC, who are not working with Severn Trent at all, I am still to resolve when their “water team” is going to start retrieving dead birds by using a boat, which SMBC possess, as well as who is going to take dead birds to the APHA at Shrewsbury for post mortems. There is friction between managers in parks, and Grounds maintenance, which the water team come under. This is something that SMBC must resolve, as it has been left to us once again to retrieve the dead coots that were left to rot.
Baz from scared animal wildlife rescue has been a legend as always.
The birds were riddled with maggots, meaning that this is another source of infection for other birds who may ingest contaminated maggots.
A meeting on site took place this week with SMBC interim director over parks. We will see what transpires from this and I will hopefully post something positive soon, though I am not holding my breath based on previous experience. He does however appear to recognise the importance of obtaining and preserving a chain of evidence in connection to the third party private water company wreaking havoc on a council asset.
VICTORIA PARK AND THIMBLEMILL BROOK
I am not very familiar with this watercourse, but have now added it to my regular checks. It flows towards Smethwick into the Victoria Park inlet via Norman Road and Cheshire Road, and has three open sections, where some lengths also pass under culverts.
It is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation. Three small pools are present, and on my first visit the first two wee fairly clear, but the third by Broadmoor Avenue stank. I am also aware that Sandwell valley countryside rangers had reported a pollution issue to STW and the EA in July, and it was described to me that it was the same familiar grey water, sanitary towels and crap. The council had had no feedback from either of the two organisations. I have mentioned this to the new director at the council to take these matters up. Clearly once again, this private water company are not working with Sandwell Council.
Last year, a similar event appears to have occurred at this brook course shortly before we noticed dead and ill birds on Victoria Park. Of course they are linked, linked not by “misconnections” but by Severn Trent Water’s pollution of this brook which they appear incapable of stopping.
WEST SMETHWICK PARK
This park, not linked in the same way as the others appears to have suffered as a direct result of infected birds flying onto the site in 2019 and then dying, and thus starting off the process of deaths.
The new concern is a result of managerial and planning related negligence in that they appear to think it a good idea to drop the water levels at this time during the hot weather and undertake purely aesthetic works as a part of a heritage lottery “restoration” of the park. This project is a strange chimera vanity project however in that although they want to anally restore a view from some early 20th Century postcard around the lake, they also want to erect a new white elephant building that was never there. Like the aquatics centre down the road with its spiralling multi million pound costs, it is an obscene waste of money that could be better used- on nature conservation and clean healthy pools for example.
I requested and was told that the works would be put off till the winter, but I was lied to again by SMBC.
Workers were starting to drain the top pool and the water levels are now at what I consider to be dangerous levels for the fish.
To make matters worse, the aerators fitted at the pool appeared to have been turned off, and once again I had a rambling incoherent nonsense from parks management as to what was occurring here, with the claim now being that they “turn on and off”.
It also now appears that the council are to remove a large section of reed bed from the lake, to be replaced by the “terra cotta army” of sectional concrete blocks lined up on the former boathouse area.
But fear not, apparently it’s only going to be 1.5 metres from the bank that is going to be removed so that these can be put in. WTF!!! 😡