A Week in the Life of a Broken Sewer Pipe

At the end of October, while performing the regular kick sample on the Cale, some CATCH volunteers noticed a nasty-looking flow into the river from one of the outfall pipes near the Batch bridge.

Outflow of polluted water into the Cale.

Having contacted Wessex Water to report the issue, we were pleased to see them respond immediately, with a team inspecting the site on Monday morning. Additionally, they allowed CATCH to observe as they guided their camera robot through the pipes to identify the source of the leak.

The problem turned out to be a broken sewer pipe, where they flow under the road at the bottom of West Hill. This is a regular occurrence where drains flow beneath roads, as they tend to be damaged by the vibrations of overhead traffic. In this case, there were two small cracks fairly close together, and the easiest way to effect repairs was to install an inner lining across that section.

Following the progress of Wessex Water’s camera robot through the sewer.

On Tuesday, Wessex Water’s Stream Clean Team were back on site, jet-cleaning the pipe ready for repair, and the following day the new lining was installed to seal the cracks and prevent further leakage.

CATCH would like to thank Wessex Water for their rapid response to this issue, which was rectified within four days of first being reported. On this occasion it was a CATCH member, working on the river, that first raised the alarm, but we’d like to remind the public that anyone who notices what appears to be foul or dirty water entering the river is requested to report the fact, either directly to Wessex Water, or by letting us here at CATCH know so we can take the issue up with them. The more eyes watch the river for problems, the cleaner the river will stay!

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