Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sewage flooding: Thames Water face residents

On monday local residents will have the chance to question Thames Water at Hammersmith Town Hall on the vexed subject of flooding by sewage. Areas to the south of the Borough, in Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith, have some of the highest density of basement flats in London - but which are also connected to the main sewer which brings most of North West London's poo and rainwater under our pavements. A fatal connection when you're dealing with ancient sewers that can't handle the volume. Flooding happens every year, usually after heavy rain.

At this public meeting last year Thames Water appeared in front of pretty angry residents but put on quite a good show, explaining what needed to be done and what their plans were. The Council, who one resident had noticed had referred to the issue as "your problem" on their website, didn't come off quite so well. They'll be hoping for a better evening next week.

Our Council and Thames Water have, of course, got form with each other. Our Council has waged a campaign of criticism against the public utility mainly about their plans to build a new sewer, the Thames Tideway Tunnel, or as the Council scarily calls it the "Super Sewer". Ultimately building this new capacity is the only way to stop both the flooding of flats and the release of raw sewage into the Thames which is also a regular occurence, leading to the threat of fines from the EU as a result.

So expect a tense meeting, and one which really does matter to those residents who suffer this most disgusting of local problems. I'd like to see more focus on the problem from our Council and less focus on flinging, er, dirt, at Thames Water. The elections are over now, after all.

The meeting takes place at 1900 in the Small Hall at Hammersmith Town Hall.

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