‘Save our village from overflowing sewage’

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A BARNHAM resident has called for action to keep the village clean from overflowing sewage.

Richard Hammond, a member of the Barnham Village Drainage Group, said he feared villagers could be waiting years to see any improvements.

The wet winter had seen the village’s foul sewerage system suffer with three locations where sewage has been flowing into Barnham Rife.

“There has been a lot of debate in the area over future development and everyone calls for improvements to the infrastructure including our local MP,” said Mr Hammond.

“The problems at Barnham have occurred for many decades and is unacceptable in my opinion in the 21st century.

“A solution is feasible. Too much rain either as groundwater or surface water enters the foul sewer which is only expected to convey the foul sewage from the community.

“If groundwater is entering the pipework, then this is Southern Water’s responsibility.

“Where rain and surface water is inundating the system, then West Sussex and Arun councils, the Environment Agency, local landowners and householders all have a part to play to ensure effective land drainage and keen clean rainwater out of the foul sewer.

“These organisations and Southern Water are working on a surface water management plan. But I fear it will be many years before any plan turns to action and we can enjoy a resolution to this mess.”

Mr Hammond raised concerns about an overflowing sewer close to the Farnhurst Road children’s play area in January, 2011, by using a photo taken of the problem back in 1987.

He said the spills near the play park had been reduced this year because screened crude sewage was pouring into Barnham Rife at the junction of Lake Lane and Barnham Lane. This had also lessened the more serious flooding of Barnham Lane at Choller bend.

“This type of emergency relief of the sewer system is legally acceptable to protect life and property but only with the agreement of the Environment Agency,” Mr Hammond said.

Until the deluge of February 14, Southern Water had been using occasional tankers to take the crude sewage to a local wastewater treatment works.

Some 200m downstream of the pump, just south of the railway line in Marshall Close, is the official overflow point from the foul sewer system.

The finely screened outflow into Barnham Rife is subject to strict conditions from the Environment Agency.

Another 200m below Marshall Close is the sewer overflow at Tars Farm on Church Lane.

A lagoon of sewage forms each year on land which is remediated by Southern Water.

This sewage receives some treatment before it also flows into the Barnham Rife.