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£500,000 Southampton sewer diversion completed
4:00pm Monday 26th March 2012 in Education
IT was one of the most controversial sewer schemes that water bosses have had to tackle.
Avoiding a sewage catastrophe for thousands of Southampton residents caused by a huge illegal dump.
Southern Water has been forced to pump more than £500,000 of its customers’ money into the scheme after one half of its underground network caved in underneath the 40ft waste heap behind Botany Bay Road, in Sholing.
Now pupils from St Monica Junior School, Sholing, have been invited to mark the official end of a major engineering project to divert 1,000ft of sewage works round the dump by planting flowers and trees.
The four-month project has closed a popular footpath and led to temporary traffic light delays.
Richard Price, from Southern Water, said: “We have received a great deal of support from the local community and I would like to thank them for their patience and co-operation throughout the construction work. It is a testament to all involved that this important scheme has been completed ahead of schedule in such sensitive conditions.”
The work was launched amid fears that the remaining half of the old sewers could collapse under the hundreds of tonnes of waste, causing untreated sewage to back up and start pouring out of drains at the rate of 20,300 litres a minute.
Toilets in homes across the east of the city would have been out of action and a nearby stream and nature reserve would have been at risk of pollution.
The illegal tip in Botany Bay Road belongs to the James family.
Tipping has been carried out without a licence on their land for years. A licence is required because of a public health and environmental risk, although no one has ever been prosecuted because of the difficulty in finding out who did the dumping.
But Southampton City Council has imposed an enforcement notice to stop more dumping. If the notice is breached, the family face a £20,000 fine or six months in prison.
The sewer replacement all comes amid anger from struggling households, shocked at their bills doubling following the water company’s compulsory installation of water meters.
The Daily Echo revealed how some families, already hit by rocketing energy and petrol prices, will see their bills rocket to £600 as the water company starts charging by use to prevent a water shortage disaster.
Smaller households will benefit because they use less than larger ones – who will be forced to ration their water use. Southern Water says this is vital to avoid water restrictions should drought conditions lower the level of the River Itchen, which is the main source of much of south Hampshire's water.