Sewage water leaks onto field next to rare chalk river for third time
PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 October 2020 | UPDATED: 08:46 08 October 2020
A farmer has hit out at Anglian Water after sewage leaked onto his field next to a chalk river for the third time in two years.
Robert Perowne, 64, took photos of dirty water bursting through a mains sewer pipe underneath his land at Great Snoring, near Fakenham, last Thursday.
The field runs down to the River Stiffkey - a rare chalk stream habitat.
Anglian Water said there had been no damage to the river. But Mr Perowne, who has been farming for more than 40 years, said it was the third time the pipe had burst, leading to sewage flowing onto his land.
He said on the previous two times, in 2018 and 2019, he had seen condoms, human faeces and dirty tissues all flowing down a ditch on his field and into the river.
On those occasions he used straw bales to dam the ditch and protect the river.
Mr Perowne claimed the problem was the pipes, which he remembers being laid when he was child, not being large enough to take the amount of waste going into it.
“It is under a lot of pressure,” he said. “It has had its day and cannot cope.
“I told them (Anglian Water) this two years ago.”
He said Anglian Water visited last Thursday evening and stopped the pumping station at Great Snoring the following day.
But the sewage water is still visible on his field where his cattle graze and he is worried about E. coli getting into this herd.
An Anglian Water spokesman said: “Following successful repairs made to a damaged sewer pipe in Great Snoring, our teams have been monitoring the river closely and would like to reassure local residents that there has been no impact to the watercourse.”
The company said previously that it was spending £811m, including on improving river water quality.
Chalk rivers are one of the world’s rarest natural habitats and Norfolk is one of the few places they are found.
The Environment Agency and Norfolk Rivers Trust launched a project in 2014 to protect and restore the Stiffkey.
•To report water pollution call Anglian Water on 03457 145 145
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