River Crane 'destroyed' by sewage spill

River Crane 'destroyed' by sewage spill

River Crane 'destroyed' by sewage spill

River Crane 'destroyed' by sewage spill

First published in News by

Dog walkers and local people who visited the park on Monday, October 31, were appalled to find thousands of dead fish and raw sewage floating in the river.

The incident occurred after a six tonne valve, in a major sewer that serves Heathrow, jammed shut on Saturday, October 29, at Cranford Bridge while engineers were carrying out routine maintenance.

Engineers from Thames Water tried to reopen the valve but were unable to do so. They then returned to the site on Sunday and used hydraulic lifting equipment overnight to force open the jammed shutter, releasing it by Monday morning.

Thames Water took backed-up sewage away in tanker lorries for treatment and enlarged a contingency pipe to bypass the problematic shutter, but the volume of sewage was too high for them to be able to tanker all of it.

Chief executive from Thames Water, Martin Baggs has said the company will now meet with the Friends of the River Crane Environment (Force), London Wildlife Trust, local anglers and the Environment Agency to discuss the full extent of the damage and how to repair it.

Mr Baggs said: “The Crane has been much improved as an urban wildlife habitat and an attractive natural resource for the community in recent years mainly thanks to the hard work of local volunteers, who are understandably upset to see their river suffer major environmental damage over much of its length.

“We deeply regret this incident and we are committed to put things right over the long term.”

Fisherman Steven Heath went to visit the site at 4pm on Monday, after he heard about the incident on the radio.

The Lyncroft Gardens resident said: “The river is finished. There are dead fish floating everywhere and it really stinks."

The fish in the river died due to a lack of oxygen in the water, caused by the pollution, but an aerator was placed in the water to try to help.

The 44-year-old said: “I have been fishing there on and off since I was a boy and I was just about to start taking my boy down there, but I would not want to go near it now.

“I hope that Thames Water will be fined and they will re-stock the river, as it’s only right.”

Thames Anglers Conservancy member, Robin Vernon, of Devon Avenue said: “It will take a decade to repair all the damage done by the sewage spill. Everything in there is just dead now.”

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

5:41pm Tue 1 Nov 11

nfitzger says...

What a hugely irresponible act to divert raw sewage into a natura resource like the Crane Rver. How can decades of destruction be justified when weighted against the inconvienence of travellers ?
Maintenance crews clearly did not do enough to restore the valve to it's correct operation and airport facilities should have been restriced so the trucks could have coped with the demand.
Thames Water will be fined but they will ultimately just push the costs onto it's customers while investors and directors escape unpunished.
Mr. Baggs should pay with his job, but I bet he will recieve a nice bonus this Christmas instead.
What a hugely irresponible act to divert raw sewage into a natura resource like the Crane Rver. How can decades of destruction be justified when weighted against the inconvienence of travellers ? Maintenance crews clearly did not do enough to restore the valve to it's correct operation and airport facilities should have been restriced so the trucks could have coped with the demand. Thames Water will be fined but they will ultimately just push the costs onto it's customers while investors and directors escape unpunished. Mr. Baggs should pay with his job, but I bet he will recieve a nice bonus this Christmas instead. nfitzger
  • Score: 0

3:19pm Wed 2 Nov 11

Rob Gray says...

I have pasted below a press release put out today by Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE) regarding this incident.

FORCE trustees and members have been very saddened to see the effects of a major pollution incident in the River Crane over the last few days. This has been caused by raw sewage flowing into the river by the A4 Bath Road between Saturday night and early Monday morning due to a defective valve on the two metre diameter sewer that services the Heathrow area.

On Sunday there was clear evidence of a major fish kill along the 10 kilometres of the lower River Crane, as well as the 5 kilometre linked channel known as the Duke of Northumberland’s River (DNR). The Environment Agency stated at the time that around 3000 fish were believed dead. By Monday the lower Crane resembled an open sewer, local people were visibly shocked by its appearance and the smell was forcing people to cover their faces with scarves and handkerchiefs.

The Environment Agency (EA) has described this as a “devastating raw sewage spill” which has effectively “wiped out” the aquatic life in the lower 10 kilometres of the River Crane, considering it to be “the most serious incident we have had on a tributary of the River Thames for several years”.

Thames Water and the EA have pledged to do all they can to assess the damage and clean up the river. However this is likely to take a long time, largely governed by the natural recuperation processes of the river system. It could take weeks to flush out the worst of the pollution and several years to return to its previous ecological richness.

This is a particularly difficult blow for the Crane given all the hard work that has been done by FORCE members, Richmond and Hounslow councils, and many other organisations and individuals over the last few years to improve the river environment and its value for local people. FORCE is determined that this current situation will be overcome and the ongoing improvements to the surrounding green spaces will continue.

Rob Gray, Chair of FORCE said; “The Trustees and members of FORCE are shocked by this horrendous event and have been overwhelmed by calls and e-mails expressing concern about our well loved river. It is however essential to remember that the River Crane is not destroyed for good and it will recover”.

“Recovery will not be a quick fix and Thames Water needs to work with local groups and the EA, and to provide whatever is needed, fully funded over the long term to ensure a complete recovery. We are determined to ensure that as far as possible this situation should never occur again and will urge Thames Water to review and revise their systems so that no similar pollution event can happen.”

In the short term it is important for all riverside visitors to keep both themselves and their dogs out of the river until further notice. Despite the warning notices posted in the park by FORCE trustees, there were still dogs bathing in the river this week.
I have pasted below a press release put out today by Friends of the River Crane Environment (FORCE) regarding this incident. FORCE trustees and members have been very saddened to see the effects of a major pollution incident in the River Crane over the last few days. This has been caused by raw sewage flowing into the river by the A4 Bath Road between Saturday night and early Monday morning due to a defective valve on the two metre diameter sewer that services the Heathrow area. On Sunday there was clear evidence of a major fish kill along the 10 kilometres of the lower River Crane, as well as the 5 kilometre linked channel known as the Duke of Northumberland’s River (DNR). The Environment Agency stated at the time that around 3000 fish were believed dead. By Monday the lower Crane resembled an open sewer, local people were visibly shocked by its appearance and the smell was forcing people to cover their faces with scarves and handkerchiefs. The Environment Agency (EA) has described this as a “devastating raw sewage spill” which has effectively “wiped out” the aquatic life in the lower 10 kilometres of the River Crane, considering it to be “the most serious incident we have had on a tributary of the River Thames for several years”. Thames Water and the EA have pledged to do all they can to assess the damage and clean up the river. However this is likely to take a long time, largely governed by the natural recuperation processes of the river system. It could take weeks to flush out the worst of the pollution and several years to return to its previous ecological richness. This is a particularly difficult blow for the Crane given all the hard work that has been done by FORCE members, Richmond and Hounslow councils, and many other organisations and individuals over the last few years to improve the river environment and its value for local people. FORCE is determined that this current situation will be overcome and the ongoing improvements to the surrounding green spaces will continue. Rob Gray, Chair of FORCE said; “The Trustees and members of FORCE are shocked by this horrendous event and have been overwhelmed by calls and e-mails expressing concern about our well loved river. It is however essential to remember that the River Crane is not destroyed for good and it will recover”. “Recovery will not be a quick fix and Thames Water needs to work with local groups and the EA, and to provide whatever is needed, fully funded over the long term to ensure a complete recovery. We are determined to ensure that as far as possible this situation should never occur again and will urge Thames Water to review and revise their systems so that no similar pollution event can happen.” In the short term it is important for all riverside visitors to keep both themselves and their dogs out of the river until further notice. Despite the warning notices posted in the park by FORCE trustees, there were still dogs bathing in the river this week. Rob Gray
  • Score: 0

10:43pm Thu 3 Nov 11

jc twickenham says...

How desperately sad that in a few hours the River Crane was reduced to such a state of degradation that it will take years to recover.

I would like to commend the London Wildlife Trust team for their dedicated program of education and conservation at Crane Park Island nature reserve and their cooperative work with the Environment Agency and other organisations urgently seeking to rectify the situation.

The shockingly large number and surprising variety of fish, unfortunately revealed dead at the surface by this incident, may at least serve to illustrate some of the wonderful diversity of life that this small river can sustain.

Can we ensure that it will do again?
How desperately sad that in a few hours the River Crane was reduced to such a state of degradation that it will take years to recover. I would like to commend the London Wildlife Trust team for their dedicated program of education and conservation at Crane Park Island nature reserve and their cooperative work with the Environment Agency and other organisations urgently seeking to rectify the situation. The shockingly large number and surprising variety of fish, unfortunately revealed dead at the surface by this incident, may at least serve to illustrate some of the wonderful diversity of life that this small river can sustain. Can we ensure that it will do again? jc twickenham
  • Score: 0

11:16pm Thu 10 Nov 11

harry worth says...

nfitzger wrote:
What a hugely irresponible act to divert raw sewage into a natura resource like the Crane Rver. How can decades of destruction be justified when weighted against the inconvienence of travellers ? Maintenance crews clearly did not do enough to restore the valve to it's correct operation and airport facilities should have been restriced so the trucks could have coped with the demand. Thames Water will be fined but they will ultimately just push the costs onto it's customers while investors and directors escape unpunished. Mr. Baggs should pay with his job, but I bet he will recieve a nice bonus this Christmas instead.
Having fished the crane over many years I find the estimate of dead fish to be somewhat low, 5 miles/ 3000 fish = 600 fish per mile, there are probably many more on the bottom. I raise this issue for when the time is right for T.W. to pay for restocking. Five times that amount would be closer.
[quote][p][bold]nfitzger[/bold] wrote: What a hugely irresponible act to divert raw sewage into a natura resource like the Crane Rver. How can decades of destruction be justified when weighted against the inconvienence of travellers ? Maintenance crews clearly did not do enough to restore the valve to it's correct operation and airport facilities should have been restriced so the trucks could have coped with the demand. Thames Water will be fined but they will ultimately just push the costs onto it's customers while investors and directors escape unpunished. Mr. Baggs should pay with his job, but I bet he will recieve a nice bonus this Christmas instead.[/p][/quote]Having fished the crane over many years I find the estimate of dead fish to be somewhat low, 5 miles/ 3000 fish = 600 fish per mile, there are probably many more on the bottom. I raise this issue for when the time is right for T.W. to pay for restocking. Five times that amount would be closer. harry worth
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree