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Grimston Parish Council to host meeting as residents ‘demand answers’ about sewage in chalk stream river

Grimston Parish Council is set to host a public meeting tonight amid ongoing concerns about the amount of sewage flowing into a rare chalk stream.

Data from the Environment Agency recently revealed that wastewater from the Anglian Water sewage treatment works in Grimston spilled into the Gaywood River for more than 1,600 hours in 2023.

The river, which rises near Derby Fen in West Norfolk before flowing into Lynn, has been the subject of calls from campaigners, MPs and councillors for it to be protected.

Toilet paper and excrement spewing from a sewer manhole in Grimston. Picture: Gaywood River Revival
Toilet paper and excrement spewing from a sewer manhole in Grimston. Picture: Gaywood River Revival

Grimston Parish Council is host the meeting tonight to allow for discussions about the ongoing issues with Anglian Water facilities in Grimston, Roydon and Pott Row.

Mark Dye, who sits on the council and also acts as a spokesman for the Gaywood River Revival group, says residents are “demanding answers”.

“In Watery Lane alone, one manhole cover has been flooding onto the road and discharging into the chalk stream continuously for more than one month already in 2024,” he said.

“In Pott Row, many people are unable to flush toilets when we have heavy rainfall and some people have been given (portable toilets) long-term, with one-way valves being fitted to prevent sewage backing up into houses.”

Grimston Village Hall is to play host to the meeting, with parish council chair Keith Israel running proceedings.

It is set to be attended by Anglian Water figures such as Peter Lough, head of water recycling networks, Grant Tuffs, regional engagement manager, and Lucy Bush, head of pollutions strategy.

Others including county and borough council representatives, internal drainage boards, and MP James Wild are also touted to go along.

The ‘spills’ from the Grimston works have been coming from storm overflows, which dump untreated sewage into rivers and the sea, usually during periods of heavy rainfall to stop sewers from backing up and flooding.

Water companies are allowed to release sewage through storm overflows when the system is overwhelmed during heavy rain in order to help prevent flooding.

Anglian Water previously said it is “working hard” to drive down the number of spills and is investing £50million into a ‘spills taskforce’ to tackle the problem.

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