Sewage release into the Dee at Chester on or around 2nd June 2018

John Sutton 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


This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Welsh Water,

I am now in the middle of a second sleepless night after Deva Triathlon on Sunday 3rd June. Some 36 hours after finishing I suffered what can loosely be described as an "extreme diarrhoea episode". Sunday was my birthday and I can safely say that this was the most unwelcome birthday present I've ever received.

Since the race I was made aware of the following report in the Chester Standard: http://www.chesterstandard.co.uk/news/16...

I have 3 questions:

Did you make the organisers of the event aware of the sewage release?

Did you test the water after the sewage release to ensure its compliance with safety standards?

Did you advise the organisers to take any action as a result of the sewage release?

Yours faithfully,

John Sutton

Sewerage Services, Welsh Water

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Sutton

 

We refer to your request for information, being dealt with under the
Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“the Regulations”), received
by us on 6^th June 2018 which reads as follows:

  

Dear Welsh Water,

 

I am now in the middle of a second sleepless night after Deva Triathlon on
Sunday 3rd June. Some 36 hours after finishing I suffered what can loosely
be described as an "extreme diarrhoea episode". Sunday was my birthday and
I can safely say that this was the most unwelcome birthday present I've
ever received.

 

Since the race I was made aware of the following report in the Chester
Standard:
[1]http://www.chesterstandard.co.uk/news/16...

 

I have 3 questions:

 

Did you make the organisers of the event aware of the sewage release?

 

Did you test the water after the sewage release to ensure its compliance
with safety standards?

 

Did you advise the organisers to take any action as a result of the sewage
release?

 

Yours faithfully,

 

John Sutton

  

We will respond to your requests within 20 working days of receiving it,
in accordance with the Regulations.

  

In the meantime, if you have any further queries regarding the above,
please contact me on 02920 534649 (Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm).

 

Kind Regards

[2]cid:image003.jpg@01D07E9A.5C52D4A0

Kim Kehoe

Customer Care Officer

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01CCC0B2.49FB9D40[4]http://infozone.dwrcymru.com/irj/go/km/d...

 

_______________________________________________________ Dwr Cymru Welsh
Water is firmly committed to water conservation and promoting water
efficiency. Please log on to our website www.dwrcymru.com/waterefficiency
to find out how you can become water wise. Mae Dwr Cymru Welsh Water wedi
ymrwymo i warchod adnoddau dwr a hyrwyddo defnydd dwr effeithiol. Mae
cyngor i' ch helpu i ddefnyddio dwr yn ddoeth yn
www.dwrcymru.com/waterefficiency

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Emma Clarke left an annotation ()

Hi John

I am also suffering the same problems, as is a friend of mine. Hope you're feeling better soon. I've contacted Welsh Water via Resolver so hoping to hear from them soon. Chester council don't want to help and the EA just say its perfectly legal for them to do it. Can't believe our health is thought of so little!!

Kevin Kelly left an annotation ()

I suffered severe vomitting 36hours after event with diarohera the next morning. I've felt poorly up until yesterday. Only now getting back to normal eating and training. I had to cancel Leeds triathlon due to being unwell. Very interested in any information Welsh water post. Chester tri club have not answered any e mails. British tri are saying all checks were made by Chester Tri Club and they are sure this was all done correctly. No real evidence produced of water test results or answering whether welsh water contacted them.

Sewerage Services, Welsh Water

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Sutton

 

Thank you for your email received on 6^th June 2018, regarding the Deva
triathlon on Sunday 3^rd June. The details have been forwarded to me to
respond to as Managing Director for Waste Water Services.

 

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve not been well since you took part in the
triathlon. In response to your email, I've set out below details of how
our Wastewater system operates which includes responses to your three
questions:

 

Question 1 – Did Dwr Cymru make the organisers of the event aware of the
sewage release?

Question 2 – Did Dwr Cymru test the water after the sewage release to
ensure its compliance with safety standards?

Question 3 – Did Dwr Cymru advise the organisers to take any action as a
result of the sewage release?

 

The answers to all of the above questions are no and our reasons are set
out below:

 

We operate an extensive wastewater network across our operating area,
which helps provide an essential public service, taking wastewater away
from people’s homes and businesses, before it is treated and then returned
safely to the environment.  In urban areas like Chester, we have a
combined sewer network which means that our sewers are a single piped
system that collects both rainwater runoff from gardens and the local
highway (surface water) as well as household sewage and industrial
wastewater (foul water).  It is then treated at Chester wastewater
treatment works and returned to the environment.

 

Please note that we are not releasing raw sewage into the river.  The
wastewater being released is during heavy storms only, and is heavily
diluted as it has been mixed with rainwater.

 

During heavy storms, more water gets into the single piped system than it
can cope with. These systems have been designed to safely relieve the
pressure by release mechanisms known as combined sewer overflows (CSOs). 
Like other water companies, we have a number of CSOs which act as release
valves when the network fills up with rainwater and diluted wastewater
during heavy storms. We have permission from our Regulators, Natural
Resources Wales (NRW) and The Environment Agency (EA) for our combined
sewers to overflow, via the CSOs, in accordance with the Environmental
Permitting Regulations.  These CSOs are a crucial part of the network as
they release excess storm water into the environment during very wet
weather. Without it, sewerage systems would back up with diluted sewage
and rainwater, causing flooding to buildings, streets, highways and open
spaces from manholes, drains and toilets. 

 

Water quality can be impacted by diffuse pollution, which is the term
given to pollution from multiple, often unidentified sources. Examples
include road, urban and agricultural run-off as well as leakage from
septic tanks (which are not our responsibility).  Contaminants can include
pathogens, hydrocarbons, heavy metals and organic substances. When these
sources combine, they can have a detrimental impact on water quality. We
did not test the water after the sewage release as there is no requirement
upon us to do so.  We do, however, work with NRW and EA in partnership
with a wide range of organisations in order to deliver improved water
quality.

 

In order to understand how often and for how long our CSOs operate, we
have, since 2013, been installing Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) monitors
on our CSO’s.  EDM data will improve our understanding of how our assets
perform and inform our work and future investment. The data from the
monitors is collated and verified, and then shared with our environmental
regulators, NRW and EA on an annual basis. They help us decide and
prioritise what, if anything, we need to do to improve our CSOs.

 

With regard to the triathlon, on Wednesday 30th May 2018 the Met office
issued a weather warning for the potential for very heavy rain and
thunderstorms covering all of Wales and the North West of England. The
weather warning covered a three day period up to Saturday 2^nd June. 
During this period, the River Dee catchment experienced extensive rain
fall, particularly in the Chester area between 06:00 - 11:00 on Saturday
2^nd June.  This caused our CSOs to operate, resulting in a permitted
discharge of wastewater into the River Dee.

 

We have CSOs right across the Country. There is currently no requirement
upon us to let the organisers of the event or the public know when the
CSOs are operating, however following a recent meeting with Chris Matheson
MP in Chester, which involved the river swimmers, EA and local
councillors, we have made a commitment to get a real-time warning publicly
available by July 2018 in order to highlight any discharges from our CSO
for this section of the River Dee.

 

We are currently reviewing the best way to notify the public of the
warning, therefore I have asked my customer care officer, Kim Kehoe to
contact you by 20^th July 2018 with a update once confirmed.

 

I hope you are satisfied with this response. If you have any further
queries regarding the above, please contact Kim on 02920 534649 (Monday to
Friday 9am - 4pm), who would be happy to help.

 

Your request has been dealt with in accordance with the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004.  If you are dissatisfied with the handling
of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review.
Internal review requests should be submitted within 40 working days of the
date of receipt of this response and should be addressed to General
Counsel and Company Secretary, Heol Pentwyn, Nelson, Treharris, Mid
Glamorgan, CF46 6LY.

                                                                                                                                                                                

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of any internal review, you can
apply to the Information Commissioner, who will consider whether Dwr Cymru
Welsh Water has complied with its obligations under the Regulations and
can require Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to remedy any problems. You can find out
more about how to do this, and about the Regulations in general, on the
Information Commissioner’s website at: [1]www.ico.org.uk . Complaints to
the Information Commissioner can be made via the “report a concern”
section of the Information Commissioner’s website.

 

Kind Regards

[2]cid:image004.png@01D0C560.689434E0

Steve Wilson

Managing Director for Waste Water Services

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01CCC0B2.49FB9D40[4]http://infozone.dwrcymru.com/irj/go/km/d...

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 [5]www.dwrcymru.com/legal-privacy or call us on
0800 052 0145 to ask us to send you a copy in the post.

 

_______________________________________________________ Dwr Cymru Welsh
Water is firmly committed to water conservation and promoting water
efficiency. Please log on to our website www.dwrcymru.com/waterefficiency
to find out how you can become water wise. Mae Dwr Cymru Welsh Water wedi
ymrwymo i warchod adnoddau dwr a hyrwyddo defnydd dwr effeithiol. Mae
cyngor i' ch helpu i ddefnyddio dwr yn ddoeth yn
www.dwrcymru.com/waterefficiency

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Sewerage Services, Welsh Water

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Sutton

 

Following our email on 25 June 2018, I would like to update you on our
plans for publishing Dee river alerts to the public.

 

We have been working with Surfers Against Sewerage (SAS) to make
information about spills from our CSO’s in Chester public on their
website. Even though the river reach is not an EU designated bathing
water, we understand how popular it is with wild swimmers and we are
committed to sharing information about our CSO’s with river users.

 

We have completed internal testing of the alert system and we are now
working with SAS to publish the information on their website. We’ve had
confirmation this morning, that the alert system relating to the River Dee
is up and running on the website [1]https://www.sas.org.uk/map/. 

 

The Alerts cover the operation of CSOs within a 5km reach of the river Dee
between Eccleston and the tidal weir near The Groves in Chester.

 

A START alert will be issued after one or more of the CSOs in this reach
begins to operate.  A STOP will be issued 12 hours after the last CSO in
this reach has ceased to operate. These alerts are for information only
and do not provide an indication of the size of the discharge or the
effects of microbiological pollutants in the discharge.

 

This reach of river is also subject to the effects of point source and
diffuse pollutants entering the river Dee and tributaries upstream of the
Alert reach. These inputs will occur before, during and after an alert is
issued.

 

I do hope that my response is helpful, if you have any questions regarding
this please contact me on 029 20534649 (9am to 4pm) and I will be happy to
help. 

 

Kind Regards

[2]cid:image003.jpg@01D07E9A.5C52D4A0

Kim Kehoe

Customer Care Officer

[3]cid:image001.jpg@01CCC0B2.49FB9D40[4]http://infozone.dwrcymru.com/irj/go/km/d...

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 [5]www.dwrcymru.com/legal-privacy or call us on
0800 052 0145 to ask us to send you a copy in the post.

 

 

_______________________________________________________ Dwr Cymru Welsh
Water is firmly committed to water conservation and promoting water
efficiency. Please log on to our website www.dwrcymru.com/waterefficiency
to find out how you can become water wise. Mae Dwr Cymru Welsh Water wedi
ymrwymo i warchod adnoddau dwr a hyrwyddo defnydd dwr effeithiol. Mae
cyngor i' ch helpu i ddefnyddio dwr yn ddoeth yn
www.dwrcymru.com/waterefficiency

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