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Raw sewage at Carlisle river beauty spot

Horrified fishermen told how they saw raw sewage pouring into a Carlisle river just yards from where children were paddling.

Sewer pipe photo
An overflow pipe at Holme Head in Denton Holme was seen spewing effluent

An overflow pipe that fronts on to the River Caldew at the Holme Head beauty spot in Denton Holme was seen spewing effluent after a period of heavy rain.

Angler Les McVittie, 51, said the river bed was littered with sewage and waste products.

United Utilities bosses say last week’s incident underlines the need to upgrade the area’s Victorian sewers, which were unable to cope with the sudden influx of waste water.

It also underlined the folly of people flushing sanitary products down toilets, a spokesman said.

Mr McVittie said: “There had been a big downpour but the river was very low.

“The water was pouring out of the pipe beside the footbridge that connects Denton Holme to Bousteads Grassing – it was full of raw sewage.

“It was literally gushing out. Afterwards, there were literally hundreds of tampons on the river bed.

“There were three or four children swimming in the weir at Holme Head and my brother saw that they were going to start jumping into the water from the footbridge, but he warned them about the sewage.

“If he hadn’t have been there, they’d have jumped right into the stuff.”

Blackwell Road resident Ben Macleod, who walks his dog along the stretch of river, said he had noticed conditions getting worse in recent weeks.

Mr Macleod, 27, said: “I walk here frequently and there’s broken glass and sewage. It’s horrible.

“It’s happened since the warm weather began – it just seems to be worse than six months ago. Sometimes my dog wants to have a drink and I have to stop him.”

A spokesman for United Utilities said that pipe involved comes into operation when the area’s drainage network is unable to cope and is at risk of flooding.

The system is designed to dump excess water into the river system rather than allow it to spill onto streets.

He said: “We’re trying to get further funding from the Government to increase the sewerage capacity in that area, where the pipes are probably more than 100 years old.”

He said the system represented the lesser of two evils when drainage systems were overloaded after extremely heavy rain.

He added: “We’re running a campaign to encourage the public not to flush anything inappropriate down the toilet because there’s a risk it might end up in a watercourse.”

Have your say

At one time, it was the done thing for raw sewage to be dispatched into the Sea. That was the 1960s, this is 2013. There is no acceptable reason for this to happen in an area where children play. Also, there is the Wildlife to consider. It is not unknown for Salmon to spawn in the area. As regards United Utilities, I only get my water from them because I have no other option, the less said about that the better!

Posted by Stemax1960 on 8 August 2013 at 23:24

"government help"!!! have you seen the profits that UU make recently and the vans now say WATER AND WASTE WATER to justify the sky high bills.
Time indeed to spend those profits on actually doing what they're supposed to be doing methinks.

Posted by kevin on 7 August 2013 at 23:40

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