Flash Flooding caused environmental catastrophe
Environmental catastrophe as raw sewage pumped into Thames
The floods on Tuesday had tragic consequences with the downpour forcing Thames Water to pump one million tons of sewage into the river to avoid waste water flowing onto the streets. The discharge caused the worst pollution incident in the Thames for nearly two decades with tens of thousands of fish in the Kew and Brentford area being killed. According to the Environment Agency although there are only a limited number of dead fish on the foreshore there are thousands more on the bottom. They say fish stocks could take at least two years to recover.
Thames Water, who
have just announced a 16% increase in charges, insisted that they had
no other option. The pumping of raw sewage into the Thames is a regular
occurrence during times of heavy rainfall but this incident was unusual
in its intensity. The capital investment necessary to avoid such occurrences
would be £1 billion. This would involve a giant channel 20 miles
long being built to funnel excess water during stormy weather.
"We deeply regret the loss of fish in the Thames last night. We are working with the EA to minimise the impact of the pollution that occurred following the violent storms in the capital, which saw 42mm of rain fall in just one hour.
"The scale of the fish loss last night was very rare - a very unfortunate side effect of the exceptionally heavy rainfall.
The Environment Agency has instructed Thames Water to add hydrogen peroxide to improve the water quality and prevent the loss of further fish stock. The operation may take days to manage as the tidal effect means the storm sewage will move up and down with the current
Ken Livingstone has pointed the finger of blame at local authorities for the way in which storm drains backed up causing widespread flooding on the roads. He said he would be asking them to report on drain cleaning measures following the Summer recess.
August 12, 2004