Thousands of fish die in Thames sewage overflow

It is believed thousands of fish have been killed after 450,000 tonnes of storm sewage was discharged into the River Thames.

A clean up of the Thames was carried out this week, under the supervision of the Environment Agency (EA), after it was reported thousands of dead fish and other aquatic life were spotted in the river along with raw sewage following heavy rain last weekend.

Downpours in London on Sunday and Monday caused 250,000 tonnes of storm sewage to be released into the river from combined sewer overflows along with at least 200,000 tonnes of storm sewage from Mogden sewage treatment works in Isleworth.

The discharges, combined with the current warm, dry weather and low river flows, resulted in the low oxygen levels and the death of the fishes along a 1km stretch.

Steve Holmes, a member of Thames Anglers’ Conservancy, tried to help fish which lay dying by Barnes Bridge.

He said: “We had to wade along the shore kicking up the water to oxygenate it and put back all the fish that had beached themselves, torpedo-ing them in to try to shock them into fighting.

“We saw, when you include the fry, 50p size flounders and livers, literally thousands upon thousands of small fish gasping for air on the surface. Many bigger fish had beached themselves to breathe their last.”

More rain fell in 24 hours in the south-east of the country on Sunday and Monday than in the whole of March, April and May, with more than 30mm falling on west London.

Howard Davidson, EA director for the south-east, said: “This is a major sewage pollution incident which has caused the death of a huge number of fish.

“We are currently monitoring Thames Water’s clean up efforts and assessing the full impact but unfortunately we may never know the exact numbers of fish that have died.”

Martin Baggs, chief executive of Thames Water, said the company “very much” regretted the fish deaths and environmental damage caused by the storm sewage.

He said: “Incidents like this are clearly totally unsatisfactory in a modern capital city and we have a major programme of work under way to sort the problem out.

“In the west London area this includes a 50 per cent increase in treatment capacity at our Mogden sewage treatment works, which will be complete early in 2013, and the proposed Thames Tunnel.”

To report pollution incidents call the Environment Agency’s emergency hotline on 0800 807060.

Comments (3)

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1:37pm Fri 10 Jun 11

Richard Crimp says...

Take a look at this video on YouTube taken by my fellow members of the Thames Anglers' Conservancy on the evening of the incident;

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=QmJwgL15N
G8

The pressures we place on the River Thames and its habitats are immense, and despite the likes of anglers and boaters (plus other recreational users), and the risks we face, the aquatic life continues to suffer through pollution, proposed hydropower projects, eroding habitat, flow regimes, migration, abstraction of water, poaching, illegal netting, predation, disease, endocrine-disrupting compounds etc. etc. etc.

This cannot continue, and rather cynically I believe that Thames Water will use this to further their position concerning the objections (by some members of the community), that are voicing opposition to the Thames Tunnel being built.

Incidentally, as a concerned group representing anglers on the Thames, the Thames Anglers' Conservancy believe that the tunnel should be built sooner rather than later, but, it won't be the privately owned company that will pay for the project, it will see an additional annual increase to their consumers bills on an annual basis to the tune of £60, at least.

This for a company that is owned by an investment banking group - Macquarie Group - based in Australasia, that boasts of a £140bn portfolio... that earned £435mn out of Thames Water alone in 2009.

Utterly disgusting and immoral, but not so surprisingly, the previous Conservative Govt. made this practice legal through "temporary" discharge consents in 1989 when they sold off the water utilities to private ownership.

This happens in varying amounts of discharge nearly once a week on the Thames alone, averaging 39 million tonnes (or 39 million litres) per annum...

And here’s another notification by Thames Water today;

Within the next hour and a half, Hammersmith Sewage Pumping Station will be discharging heavily diluted storm water into the River Thames.

We regret the necessity to discharge partly treated effluent in this way.

Until this essential work is done, London's sewer network - which is Victorian - and other facilities will remain overstretched. This means that after heavy rain there is simply nowhere else for excess storm sewage to go, which is why these discharges, though regrettable, are legal and consented.

Regards
Thames Water

And so it continues...
Take a look at this video on YouTube taken by my fellow members of the Thames Anglers' Conservancy on the evening of the incident; http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=QmJwgL15N G8 The pressures we place on the River Thames and its habitats are immense, and despite the likes of anglers and boaters (plus other recreational users), and the risks we face, the aquatic life continues to suffer through pollution, proposed hydropower projects, eroding habitat, flow regimes, migration, abstraction of water, poaching, illegal netting, predation, disease, endocrine-disrupting compounds etc. etc. etc. This cannot continue, and rather cynically I believe that Thames Water will use this to further their position concerning the objections (by some members of the community), that are voicing opposition to the Thames Tunnel being built. Incidentally, as a concerned group representing anglers on the Thames, the Thames Anglers' Conservancy believe that the tunnel should be built sooner rather than later, but, it won't be the privately owned company that will pay for the project, it will see an additional annual increase to their consumers bills on an annual basis to the tune of £60, at least. This for a company that is owned by an investment banking group - Macquarie Group - based in Australasia, that boasts of a £140bn portfolio... that earned £435mn out of Thames Water alone in 2009. Utterly disgusting and immoral, but not so surprisingly, the previous Conservative Govt. made this practice legal through "temporary" discharge consents in 1989 when they sold off the water utilities to private ownership. This happens in varying amounts of discharge nearly once a week on the Thames alone, averaging 39 million tonnes (or 39 million litres) per annum... And here’s another notification by Thames Water today; Within the next hour and a half, Hammersmith Sewage Pumping Station will be discharging heavily diluted storm water into the River Thames. We regret the necessity to discharge partly treated effluent in this way. Until this essential work is done, London's sewer network - which is Victorian - and other facilities will remain overstretched. This means that after heavy rain there is simply nowhere else for excess storm sewage to go, which is why these discharges, though regrettable, are legal and consented. Regards Thames Water And so it continues... Richard Crimp
  • Score: 0

7:54pm Sat 11 Jun 11

jeremyhm says...

If anyone wishes to question Thames Water about this or any other matter, please be aware that two senior employees will be giving a talk on Sewage and the Tunnel on June 16 at the AGM of REIC, held at The River Thames Visitor Centre just by Richmond Bridge at 7.30. See www.reic.org.uk
If anyone wishes to question Thames Water about this or any other matter, please be aware that two senior employees will be giving a talk on Sewage and the Tunnel on June 16 at the AGM of REIC, held at The River Thames Visitor Centre just by Richmond Bridge at 7.30. See www.reic.org.uk jeremyhm
  • Score: 0

11:38am Tue 14 Jun 11

edrandall says...

Thames Water will emit their standard response "we regret this but it is consented and legal".
Why are we paying multiple times twice for water and sewage services?
First to Thames Water (TW) for the basic service (and also profits for their shareholders and those of Macquarie Bank), Second via taxes to our own Environment Agency to clean up their mess, Third we are promised higher water bills to pay for TW's investment in the Super-Sewer. The government and their appointed regulators are too weak where these privatised utilities are concerned.
Thames Water will emit their standard response "we regret this but it is consented and legal". Why are we paying multiple times twice for water and sewage services? First to Thames Water (TW) for the basic service (and also profits for their shareholders and those of Macquarie Bank), Second via taxes to our own Environment Agency to clean up their mess, Third we are promised higher water bills to pay for TW's investment in the Super-Sewer. The government and their appointed regulators are too weak where these privatised utilities are concerned. edrandall
  • Score: 0

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