Sewage in wastewater outlets

robert winter made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Welsh Water
You only have a right in law to access information about the environment from this authority

The request was successful.

Dear Welsh Water,
We recently reported raw sewage coming from a wastewater drain in a public car park adjacent to the Church and childrens playground at Llandysul, ceredigion.
It is a sewage event that has happened frequently over the past few years and has not been rectified or stopped.
1) How many wastewater outlets are there from the Llandysul Town area that flow directly into the river Teifi ?
2) How many incidents of raw sewage in the wastewater outlets in Llandysul Town or the Teifi riverbank have been reported to you in the last 2 years to date?
3) Why is raw sewage and toilet paper in the Wastewater drains in Llandysul?
4) What work is being carried out to repair/rectify this sewage spillage in Llandysul from wastewater outlets?
5) What work is planned in 2024 to be carried out to repair/rectify this sewage spillage in wastewater drains in Llandysul ?

Yours faithfully,
Robert Winter
Llandysul Biodiversity Voluntary Group

Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

Dear Robert Winter,

Request for information
We refer to your request for information, dated 07/03/2024. We are dealing with your request as one made under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the Regulations”).
In accordance with the Regulations, we will respond to your request within 20 working days of the date of receipt.
For completeness, we advise that the Information Commissioner’s Office states that the time period for responding should be calculated from the day after the request is received.
In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact us on email [email address]
We have assigned reference EIR/1749/2024 to your request. Please kindly note this in all correspondence with us regarding this matter.
Yours faithfully
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

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Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

2 Attachments

Good afternoon Mr Winter,

Please see our response for your Environmental Information Request attached along with EDM data in a separate attachment.

Thanks,
Information Request Case Officers
_______________________________________________
Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water
Linea
Fortran Rd, St Mellons, Cardiff, CF3 0LT

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Dear Environmental Information Requests,
Thank you for your response to date.
Can you clarify why there is raw sewage appearing on the pavements in the Llandysul Car Park area and what is being done to ensure such raw sewage is not going directly into the Teifi a hundred meters or so down from these drains?
Have Natural Resources Wales been advised of this raw sewage entering the Teifi at Llandysul Park and from the Car Park?

Yours sincerely,

robert winter

Dear Environmental Information Requests,
Your response does not address the specific request for information and data on the sewage spills onto the pavements of the car park and public spaces within Llandysul town and its subsequent leaks directly into the Teifi river at Llandysul from these water water outlets.
Please address these original questions before this is escalated.

Yours sincerely,

robert winter

Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

Dear Robert Winter

 

Request for information

 

We refer to your request for information which was received on 8^th April
2024.

 

We are dealing with your request as one made under the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (“the Regulations”).

 

In accordance with the Regulations, we will respond to your request within
20 working days of the date of receipt.

 

For completeness, we advise that the Information Commissioner’s Office
states that the time period for responding should be calculated from the
day after the request is received.

 

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact us on email
[1][email address]

 

We have assigned reference EIR/1774/2024 to your request. Please kindly
note this in all correspondence with us regarding this matter.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

 

 

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Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

Our Reference: EIR/1774/2024

 

 

Dear Robert Winter

 

We write further to your email dated 8th April 2024 following our
Environmental information Request response.

 

We can confirm that this was logged as an incident, a crew attended and
found the manhole discharging due to hydraulic overload and a clean up was
carried out of the minor discharge.

 

It is important to report any incidents via our 24/7 incident phone line
on 0800 085 3968 or online using the following link where a crew can be
dispatched to investigate:

 

[1]https://contact.dwrcymru.com/en/report-a...

 

The sooner we are aware of any issues the sooner we can investigate and
attend site if necessary.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

 

 

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Dear Environmental Information Requests,

What is an 'hydraulic overload' ? And where was this hydraulic overload? And what has been done about it? This is a rainwater/waste water drain system that empties directly into the Teifi river so should not be containing raw sewage. You have still not answered why there is raw sewage in these drains and why it is going directly into the Teifi river.
I look forward to your prompt reply and detailed explanation.

Yours sincerely,

robert winter

Sewerage Services, Welsh Water

2 Attachments

Our reference: 2933283

 

Dear Mr Winter

 

Thank you for your email of 19 April 2024, addressed to the Environmental
Information Request (EIR) Team. As this query doesn’t fall under the
category of an EIR, the details have been passed to me to reply.

 

I’d like to start by explaining, that these drains are sewer chambers and
are part of the sewer network. This is a ‘combined’ sewer where there is a
mix of sewage, wastewater and surface water, which is not designed to
drain into the Teifi river.

 

The reason this happened on this occasion was, following a period of very
high rainfall in the area, the sewerage system became inundated with
excess flows, which regrettably led to an escape of sewerage from the
system at the location you reported. This is called Hydraulic Overload,
which I’ll explain further below.

 

Some areas have separate sewers to take foul waste and surface water (from
roofs and roads etc.), but in others, the sewer system is ‘combined’ which
takes both foul waste and surface water. Our sewers are designed to cope
with most storms but occasionally rainfall can be so heavy or prolonged
that it overwhelms the system, and Hydraulic Overload occurs. This can
result in flooding, pollution and restricted toilet use to properties.

 

Analysis by Natural Resources Wales has confirmed that Wales has just had
the wettest nine months in 189 years of data (from July 2023 to March
2024), with Southwest Wales being particularly badly affected. As a
result, we have seen drainage systems (including our sewer network)
struggling to cope with the prolonged rainfall and saturated ground
conditions.

 

There isn’t a straightforward solution to this, and investment to resolve
flooding incidents in hydraulic overload situations are subject to our 5
yearly Asset Management Plans (AMP). However, we can ensure that the sewer
is free of restrictions and running at its maximum available capacity.

 

Following the flooding at the car park in Llandysul, we carried out a CCTV
survey to check whether there were any obstructions or defects in the
local sewer network. The survey observed high flows but found no
restrictions, however the sewer was jetted on a precautionary basis to
ensure that it was operating at maximum capacity.

 

We have added a record of the flooding to our formal Flooding Register,
which contains records of all sewer flooding caused by hydraulic overload
across Wales. We use this Register to prioritise investment for permanent
solutions. At present, our available funding for sewer flooding is
committed to other flooding issues which are directly affecting customer
properties, although we will continue to monitor the risk of flooding at
this location.

 

I hope you have found this information helpful. If you have any questions,
you can reach me by return of email, or on 03300413307 (I’m usually
available Tuesday to Friday 9 am to 4 pm.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Amanda Verallo
Customer Care Officer | Sewerage Services | Dwr Cymru Welsh Water

We take compliance with Data Protection seriously at Welsh Water. For more
information on how we use your Personal Information please click here for
our Privacy Notice [1]www.dwrcymru.com/legal-privacy or call us on 0800
052 0145 to ask us to send you a copy in the post.

 

 

 

 

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Dear Sewerage Services,
Thank you for your more detailed response.
This particular drainage system has a direct outlet into the Teifi just a few hundred meters from where the 'spill' happened across the pavements. Given there are no plans or funds to address this issue, I would assume that continued sewage will still be emptying into the Teifi, just below the St. Tysul Chruch wall.
Can I suggest therefore that we will log all future such spills as Incident Reports to NRW until such time as this network has a permanent solution.
We will also report as a Health Hazard each time to the County Council.
You say that you will monitor this outlet, but can you explain how and when you will be monitoring this ?

Yours sincerely,

robert winter
Llandysul Biodiversity

Sewerage Services, Welsh Water

2 Attachments

Our ref: 2939893

 

Dear Mr Winter

 

Thank you for your further email of 3 May 2024 and I hope you find my
reply helpful.

 

The direct outlet you refer to is a storm overflow (SO). An SO is designed
to react only during periods of continuous heavy rainfall and storms. They
play a vital role in preventing homes from being flooded, as the sewer
network can become overwhelmed with excess rainwater. Much of what is
released into the sea and rivers from our SOs is surface water that enters
our sewers due to rainfall and is therefore very dilute.

 

The operation of SOs is an activity that is regulated by Natural Resource
Wales (NRW) and the Environmental Agency (EA) and are closely monitored
with alarms. Although these are operating as designed and under permit
from NRW and EA, we do recognise that more needs to be done.

 

I would like to assure you that we’re taking action to address these
challenges that we face and in Wales, we have a programme for tackling
some of the SOs with the biggest impact first. Investing to meet the
challenges of climate change is a key business priority for us and this
requires significant additional funding. Over the period of 2020 to 2025
we are investing almost £140 million on improving SOs, with a further £420
million planned for 2025 - 2030.

 

My previous email explained we would be monitoring the sewer in relation
to Hydraulic Overload (which resulted in the spill at the car park in
Llandysul). In terms of monitoring the risk of flooding, each time an
incident is reported to us, we add it to our formal Flooding Register,
from which we rank our risks and prioritise investment.

 

We prioritise available investment across all known risks of flooding
across Wales, of which this is one – however we must prioritise flooding
which is directly impacting customer homes and businesses. If there is
further flooding, we will reassess the risk against our other flooding
issues for the next round of funding allocation in 2025.  However, in
saying this, the unprecedented level of rainfall that has been the primary
cause of the recent flooding, does not suggest this location is a high
risk of further issues.

 

We rely on incidents being reported to us to allow us to build up an
accurate history. May I kindly ask that should you witness this again in
future, please contact our 24/7 emergency operational centre on 0800 085
3968, where we can arrange attendance as soon as possible, and record the
incident as explained above.

 

If you need any further explanation, our River Quality Manager would be
happy to call you. If you feel this would be helpful, can you provide me
with the best number to call you on .

 

Yours sincerely

Amanda

 

 

Amanda Verallo
Customer Care Officer | Sewerage Services | Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
Tel: 03300 413 307  extension: 50035

 

We take compliance with Data Protection seriously at Welsh Water. For more
information on how we use your Personal Information please click here for
our Privacy Notice [1]www.dwrcymru.com/legal-privacy or call us on 0800
052 0145 to ask us to send you a copy in the post.

 

 

 

 

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Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

1 Attachment

Our Reference: EIR/1749/2024

 

 

Dear Robert Winter

 

Internal Review

 

I write in response to your email of 9th April 2024, and your concerns
that we have not adequately responded to your Environmental Information
Request of 7th March 2024. I have understood that you are specifically
concerned with our response to question 2 of your request.

 

I have undertaken an internal review of our response by reference to our
obligations under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

 

I have concluded that we have not answered your question and that we could
have been more helpful in the response we provided to you. We
misinterpreted your request as relating to Storm Overflows, rather than
the manhole discharge, which is why we provided Event Duration Monitor
data.

 

Data of ‘spills’ from manholes to the pavement is not monitored,
therefore, we do not hold this information. However, we do hold
information about the number of times this has been reported to us. We
have interpreted your request as seeking information on any call received
reporting potential or actual escapes of sewage and any incident that we
have classified as an escape of sewage to any public open space in
Llandysul or to the Teifi. Please let us know if we have not interpreted
your request correctly.

 

I have attached the supporting data of these incidents from our
operational system.

 

From 1st April 2022 to present, we have received a total of 39 reports of
potential or actual escapes of sewage to public open spaces within
Llandysul town and/or the Teifi.  This includes roads, pavements,
carparks, the Teifi or the riverbank. This total is irrespective of what
occurred, the source of any escape or whether it was related to our
wastewater network. It also includes some instances where we have received
more than one call relating to the same issue. From the 39 reports of
potential or actual escapes of sewage, 18 were confirmed as relating to
our wastewater network with the majority being caused by blockages. Most
of the remainder were confirmed to be issues unrelated to our assets for
which we are not responsible.

 

Further information

 

It may be helpful if we explain the difference between a manhole (or
chamber) surcharge and a discharge from an overflow.

 

Normally wastewater flows through the pipes by gravity and forward
momentum created by pumps. At times, the volume of water can exceed the
rate in which flow can be moved forward. Storm Overflows were added to our
network a long time ago, to protect houses in these circumstances, by
preventing flooding – allowing excess storm water to overflow via a pipe
usually directly into the environment/nearby waterbody.

 

For a manhole/chamber surcharge, this can happen if there is too much
water entering the system and the pipes become overwhelmed, similarly to a
designed overflow except there is no overflow present to relive the
network.

 

In these instances, this causes the wastewater level to rise inside the
chamber and ultimately find the path of least resistance. This can result
in the chamber ‘bursting’ or the lid ‘popping’ – this is also known as
Hydraulic Overload. Any flow that reaches a watercourse would be reported
as a pollution incident, attended, mitigated and followed up as required.
This situation can also arise if there was to be a blockage in the pipes
or chamber. If the surcharged flows are to land and contained, they are
reported but likely not treated as pollution incident by our regulators.

 

As surcharging chambers are not operating as designed then these instances
are not routinely monitored in the same way as Storm Overflows. Just to
reiterate, a Storm Overflow is a release point, which eases pressure on
our sewer systems during heavy rainfall, when more water can find its way
into our pipes than they are designed to cope with. They do this by
releasing into watercourses under a permit from our environmental
regulators.

 

They are designed to operate only in periods of heavy rainfall to prevent
flooding into our buildings, streets and highways, and even in our homes.
When they do operate, any sewage present is highly diluted with rain and
surface water. These discharges are monitored by Event Duration Monitors ,
the data of which is published retrospectively on our website annually.

 

I hope that this response clarifies our position. If you have any
questions or concerns about the internal review, then please contact us at
[1][email address] as we would be happy to
try and resolve them for you. 

 

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of this internal review, you can
apply to the Information Commissioner, who will consider whether Dwr Cymru
has complied with its obligations under the Regulations. You can find out
more about how to do this, and about the Regulations in general, on the
Information Commissioner’s website at: [2]www.ico.org.uk . Complaints to
the Information Commissioner can be made via the “report a concern”
section of the Information Commissioner’s website.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Gary Rees

General Counsel 

 

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