Checking for river pollution through town

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By Herald Express | Thursday, November 15, 2012, 07:00

THE Environment Agency will turn detective next week when it checks for signs of pollution in Newton Abbot.

A team of specialist contractors will carry out a detailed inspection of the River Lemon that flows through the market town, checking for misconnections and taking water samples to pinpoint possible sources of pollution.

Similar testing elsewhere has helped put a stop to some serious pollution.

Checks in Torbay found some factories, offices and homes were found to be discharging dirty water and sewage into local streams.

The joint exercise will involve specialist contractors and Environment Agency field officers who will search for misconnections, take samples and check the structural integrity of the culvert that forms part of the town's flood defences.

The 'walk-through' is part of the Newton Abbot Misconnections Project that has already identified 45 misconnections from a variety of businesses and residential premises in the town.

The agency is working with South West Water and Teignbridge Council to resolve these issues.

Misconnections range from domestic washing machines mistakenly plumbed into surface water drains, to factories, restaurants, hotels and schools discharging sewage into surface water systems instead of sewers.

The teams will examine 300 metres of culvert, starting on Monday. The investigations are expected to take up to two days.

The River Lemon flows into the Teign estuary where there have been some water quality issues.

'This investigation work provides an excellent opportunity for us to identify, trace and stop pollution from a variety of sources," said Andrea Summers for the Environment Agency.

"Misconnections are often difficult to pinpoint and can remain hidden for years, especially in structures like culverts.

"Once a misconnection is discovered we work with other agencies including water companies, local authorities, businesses and private homeowners to put it right."

Property owners worried about a possible misconnection or needing help with a sewer connection can obtain advice from their district council."

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  • Profile image for ExeCellent

    Just watched the Spotlight report on this – quite an eye-opener... who'd have thought that what happens under Newton Abbot's streets could have such an impact on our rivers and beaches? And good to see that SWW is working hard to ensure the quality of our very expensive water!

    By ExeCellent at 19:09 on 19/11/12

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