villagers’ fear over pollution
THE people of a Ryedale village are demanding action after two emergency pumps brought in to stop polluted water from swamping their streets were taken away by Yorkshire Water.
Brawby has repeatedly suffered from problems surrounding its drainage system with the pollution so bad during the heavy rainfall of early December that villagers were cut off from the outside world for five days by a river of sewage contaminated water.
Their argument is that the issue is nothing to do with flooding but is due to a “technically flawed and badly maintained drainage system that is no longer fit for purpose.”
The issue – called the Battle of Brawby Sewer by locals – has led to a high-profile campaign and ongoing work by engineers from Yorkshire Water, the Environment Agency and Ryedale District Council to uncover the source of the problem and carry out urgent maintenance work.
It also saw two emergency pumps put in place to stop any repeat of sewage flooding into the street.
But last week, in a move that has left villagers “open-mouthed with disbelief,” Yorkshire Water has taken away both the main pump and standby pump - despite having given villagers both written and verbal assurance that the pumps would be staying in place until the pollution problem has been solved permanently.
“In doing this, Yorkshire Water has wilfully and knowingly exposed Brawby to further pollution and public nuisance the moment we have the next heavy rain,” said Simon Thackray, a resident and campaigner. “Even their own engineers say they cannot believe Yorkshire Water has done this.”
The issue is so bad for one Brawby resident that she told the Mercury of being unable to flush her toilet or use the washing machine ever after the most modest of rainfall due to fears that they would back up with water from the sewer while another resident said that his elderly mother was forced to cancel three medical appointments when the water left her trapped in early December.
And as part of the investigation at Brawby, a team of engineers carried out a full CCTV inspection of the sewer network, de-silted the sewer and reviewed the operation of the waste water treatment works in the hope of discovering the root of the problem and solving any future incidents.
Mr Thackray met with Janet Waggott, the chief executive of Ryedale District Council, and Cllr Linda Cowling, leader of the council, at Ryedale House, Malton, yesterday, to discuss the problem.
“It was a very positive meeting and we are very encouraged and hopeful that the council will bring all the agencies together around the table to sort out this mess,” he said.
He is now very hopeful that Ryedale District Council will lead the various agencies into resolving the problem and said they are considering looking into the possibility of purchasing a pump they would own themselves at a meeting of Ryedale District Council’s Resources Working Party on Monday.
A spokesman for Ryedale District Council said: “Ryedale District Council will consider investing in additional pumps to assist and help their communities.”
And a spokesman for Yorkshire Water said: “We liased with the local population to let them know this was going to be the case and said if there any issues we will bring them right back.
“We brought the pumps into the village as a gesture of goodwill. There was no obligation on us to bring our pumps in but we did that to help them.”
“If pumps are needed in Brawby and are available, pumps will be brought out but that is weather dependent.
He added that it was up to the “lead flood authority,” in this case Ryedale Council, that are responsible for managing the situation and for Yorkshire Water and other authorities to assist them.
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Weather for Malton
Thursday 20 June 2013
Temperature: 11 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 12 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: East