Massive Sewage Spill

Massive Sewage Spill

CCTV Drain Survey finds Massive Sewage Spill

Imagine if your new home extension is the source of a consistent sewage spill into the environment, with your sewage, dishwater, washing machine water and washing water all being discharged into your local river. How is this possible?

The answer is surprisingly simple.

Recently, a Thames Water investigation team used a CCTV drain survey to begin tracing how this type of effluent, which should have been destined for sewer pipes, was escaping into drains meant only for surface water – rainwater from homes. Raw sewage and dirty water flowed into a river in Essex after a plumbing mistake caused a sewage spill from an apartment block in Stortford town centre. Waste pipes were wrongly connected to a surface water drain instead of the sewer.

Sewage Spill

In all, 50 flats were investigated and found to be the source of the sewage spill with toilets, washing machines and other appliances connected to their drainage instead of sewerage systems.   The Environment Agency, working with Thames Water, assessed the drains of the properties and found sewage and soap washing into the watercourse.

CCTV Drain Survey

Human faeces, washing machine soap, dishwasher and washing water went straight into the river instead of the sewers, where it follows a different route to the sewage treatment plant. Initial investigations to identify problem areas involved hanging wire cages inside the drain network to catch toilet waste and other pollutants as it was flushed out of toilets and taps and along to the watercourse. Once the problem areas were identified, further work was carried out, including a  CCTV drain survey to determine the exact locations of the massive sewage spill.

Following the investigation, Thames Water worked with home owners to ensure their pipes were properly reconnected. Estimates suggest that up to 10% of properties in the UK have misconnected appliances to the surface water system, resulting in pollution entering the watercourse.

A spokesman from Thames Water’s environment team, said: “The pollution that the river was receiving from the misconnected properties must have been horrendous, but thankfully recent reports show pollution levels have now reduced.

“It’s really important that anyone having home extensions built or carrying out plumbing work employs a certified plumber and makes sure they know exactly where their waste water is heading.”

For more information on how to make sure you are properly connected visit


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