Investigations are under way after a torrent of sewage water bubbled out of a problem pipe and into a rare chalk stream in a Norfolk village.

Footage taken at the scene in Watery Lane, Grimston, shows “foul-smelling” water flowing out of a manhole cover over two days on Tuesday (May 9) and Wednesday after thunderstorms brought heavy downpours to the county.

Anglian Water claims the discharge is being caused by a property’s “wrongly connected” drains and has said engineers will investigate the source.

But locals argue the infrastructure is “unfit for purpose” and have called on the water company to take action to put a stop to this issue that has plagued the community for years.


A “large volume” of toilet paper was left strewn across the area where Watery Lane and Candlestick Lane meet, with the pipe in question leading from the village directly into a pumping station.

READ MORE: Why can't sewage flowing into chalk stream be stopped?

Eastern Daily Press: Mark Dye, spokesman for Gaywood River RevivalMark Dye, spokesman for Gaywood River Revival (Image: Mark Dye)

Mark Dye, spokesman for environmental group Gaywood River Revival, said: “The sheer volume of toilet paper and foul water experienced over two consecutive nights illustrates that Anglian Water doesn’t have a workable solution to a long-term problem that continues to pollute this source of the Gaywood River.

“Significantly, rainfall levels witnessed on the second night were considerably less than the first and yet the manhole cover continued to overflow and spill sewage onto the road and into the stream, confirming that the infrastructure coming from the village to this pumping station is simply not fit for purpose and unable to cope with any significant level of rainfall. “

Eastern Daily Press: Sewage water bubbles out of a manhole cover in Grimston Sewage water bubbles out of a manhole cover in Grimston (Image: Mark Dye)

This latest incident follows a sewage leak from a burst pipe in a nearby field two weeks ago that locals claim spewed out sewage and sanitary products for hours into a chalk stream that feeds into the Gaywood River.

READ MORE: Pollution fears after claims pipe spilled sewage into Gaywood River

Chalk streams are one of the planet’s rarest habitats and Norfolk is home to a large number of these precious watercourses.

Sewage spills can cause a surge of pollutants to enter waterways, leading to algae blooms that suffocate chalk streams, killing plant and marine life.

Eastern Daily Press: Part of the stream sewage flows into following heavy rainPart of the stream sewage flows into following heavy rain (Image: Chris Bishop)

The surrounding area was hit by heavy flooding during the storms on Tuesday, with reports of 70mm of rain falling in just 20 minutes.

Anglian Water said this had a “significant” impact with surface water flowing into the sewer causing it to overflow.

It said it has conducted a number of surveys in the area in recent years and has carried out re-lining work to stop infiltration into its pipework.

A spokeswoman for the company said: “We believe the discoloured water seen earlier in the Gaywood River is coming from a misconnected property, not an Anglian Water sewer.

“Misconnections occur when a property’s drains have been wrongly connected to the council-owned surface water drains or rain drains, meaning their used water is going straight into the environment rather than through our network to a water recycling centre.

“Our teams will now begin an investigation to trace the source and highlight the issue to the homeowner.

“We are continuing to look at options to reduce and stop further flooding. At this stage, we are confident our foul sewer and pump station is working as it should.”

Eastern Daily Press: A large amount of tissue paper could be seen strewn across the area A large amount of tissue paper could be seen strewn across the area (Image: Mark Dye)

READ MORE: Anglian Water bosses to be quizzed over Norfolk sewage

While the exact cause is yet to be determined, Mr Dye believes a blame game is preventing any meaningful action from being taken to put a stop to it for good.

He added: "This is a serious problem that people in Grimston and nearby Pott Row have just been expected to take on the chin for years, whilst Anglian Water continues to trot out the same excuses and attempts to gaslight its own customers by laying the blame firmly at their door.

“It poses more questions than answers. Will they now make a commitment to properly solving this particular issue within a given timeframe? Residents deserve better.”