Farm owner raises concerns about pollution from rising sewage levels
- Credit: Ian Burt
A farm and campsite owner has criticised Anglian Water for not acting to prevent sewage from bubbling up through manholes - but the water company says unprecedented rainfall has left it defenceless.
For more than two weeks people living in and around Burnham Market in North Norfolk have been dealing with flooded gardens and sewage bubbling out of manholes.
Now, Jason Borthwick, the managing director of Deepdale Farm and Campsite in Burnham Deepdale, has raised concerns about sewage running into rivers, dykes and into the Brancaster Staithe harbour, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Mr Borthwick said although the issue had been reported to Anglian Water he felt the company seemed "totally unconcerned" by the issue.
He said he believed the source of the area's problems was the pumping station and raised concerns about how the infrastructure would cope during the peak tourism season.
Mr Borthwick said: "Right now is when the least number of people are going to be here. So perhaps there's about 20-30pc of those who would normally be here so what's going to happen as soon as things open?"
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"It will go from being a problem to a nightmare," he added.
In response to Mr Borthwick's criticisms, a spokesperson for Anglian Water said its teams were "working tirelessly" to do all it could to help customers.
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They said the systems were able to cope during peak tourist seasons and the current issues were due to weather.
The spokesperson said: "Following such persistent rainfall on already saturated ground, groundwater levels remain extremely high and it takes very little rain now to cause further flooding, especially in areas virtually at sea level.
“We are tankering water away from Burnham Market and Burnham Deepdale and our pumping stations continue to work flat out, however, sewers are simply not designed to carry the volume of floodwater we’ve seen or take excess flows from rivers and streams.
"This is what is causing the flooding we are seeing, rather than a specific problem with our network."
A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said it had given Anglian Water permission to temporarily discharge excess sewage water into the River Burn at Burnham Thorpe where there was capacity in the river but in other locations, river levels were still too high.
They said the discharges were "essential to protect residents" and would take place in accordance with "strict conditions relating to flow rate and water quality".
The EA said: "We will continue to monitor water quality on a daily basis. We are working with Anglian Water and other organisations to ensure that all options are explored to alleviate the flooding in the area.”