Frustrations raised over Grimston sewerage problems after heavy downpours
Villagers plagued by ongoing sewage problems from an underground pipe have voiced fresh frustrations after the recent rain led to new spills near a chalk stream.
The wastewater flooded out from a pipe that leads from the village in Grimston into an Anglian Water sewage treatment works in nearby Watery Lane, following the recent heavy downpours.
Videos and images show foul water bubbling out of manhole covers and flowing towards a rare chalk stream that feeds into the Gaywood River.
Villagers are reporting the issue frequently but there is confusion as to who is responsible for the problem.
Anglian Water blames misconnections from nearby properties allowing rainwater into the sewer, but locals believe the company could do more to seal manhole covers and increase the capacity of the pipe.
The confusion has left the area’s county councillor, Rob Colwell, “disgusted” by the lack of action.
He said: “Why is it happening again? West Norfolk doesn’t want to see waste going into a chalk stream.
“They have known of a problem here for years, yet seem unable or unwilling to do anything about it.
“Questions should be asked about whether underfunding of infrastructure by the water company is to blame. The Gaywood River, a rare chalk stream, doesn’t have a chance.”
Anglian Water has said it monitors the pumping station regularly and it has invested in relining on the sewers to prevent the pipe, which carries sewage from the village, from being overloaded with rainwater.
A spokeswoman said: “The site occasionally discharges during extreme rain events.
“Any overflow is due to third-party assets which may have been allowing rainwater into the foul sewer. Anglian Water has no powers to work or enforce action on these third-party assets.”
The company claimed there wasn’t any sewage debris found by technicians who attended the site.
But locals say wastewater was bubbling out from manhole covers, with pieces of toilet paper and waste present.
Last year more than seven separate incidents were reported at the same spot after “moderate rainfall” according to Mark Dye, spokesman for Gaywood River Revival.
The problem has continued into 2023 and was last reported by this paper in May, when for two consecutive nights wastewater was said to be flowing out and into the chalk stream.
“This has persisted without any sign of a solution despite previous claims teams would investigate to trace the source and highlight the issue to the homeowner,” said Mr Dye.
“I spoke to the Anglian Water technician attending the scene, who, having seen the toilet paper and waste coming from the manhole cover and into the chalk stream, then sent for another vehicle to clean this and other foul waste debris up when the waters began to subside.
“Anglian Water incessantly puts the blame at the feet of its customers.
“There are bigger questions here though. We know Anglian Water has also used its storm overflow at the Grimston sewage treatment works to pump sewage into the Gaywood River on numerous occasions.
“Was this used during Storm Babet?”
There have been frequent calls to clean up the Gaywood River, one of Norfolk’s rare chalk streams of which there are only about 200 in the world.
These streams are one of the rarest habitats in the world but campaigners have claimed sections of the Gaywood River have appeared “lifeless” in recent years and fear the health of the river is being harmed due to pollution.
The 6.7-mile river is fed by natural springs in Derby Fen, to the east of King’s Lynn, and flows into the town’s northeastern suburbs.