Hogsmill Sewage Spill

Dead barbel
Clattern bridge abuttments
Unfortunately,  the same river that  Lucy wrote so lyrically about in a previous post,  was  subject to a serious sewage spill during the early hours of 8.2.16. This was apparent from dead fish floating in the water, including this adult Barbel seen at the Clattern bridge 4 days later.

Due to an electrical failure, pumping equipment failed and subsequent pressure caused a blow - out at the Green Lane Recreation Ground. Many will remember this site has been subject to lengthy closures in the past (2003) due to sewage contamination and remedial works.

Green Lane Recreation Ground will be 'closed until further notice' reads the notice on the gate. The clean-up is a lengthy operation and 2,500 blue bags (to the right of the photo)  containing rag (toilet paper etc.) have been removed so far.

Toilet paper hanging from low-lying vegetation
 But who is going to clean-up the river banks as the tide of sewage flowed for 12 hours encrusting the riparian vegetation as it flowed to the Thames.

The evidence can be seen all along the Hogsmill from Green Lane to the Magnet at Villiers Road. This is the only stretch of the Hogsmill with the occassional water vole sighting. Why is it that Thames Water continue to sell off their own land for development; even though it has been identified as floodplain and forms an important part of the borough's flood defence (see previous posts).

Why are they permitted to use our public spaces such as: Green Lane Recreation Ground; and Surbiton Fishponds for operational reasons,  giving nothing back to the conservation and management of those spaces. Thes events are becoming routine and are causing visible harm.

In other boroughs Thames Water have paid six figure sums to put right the damage caused and we should expect no less for the Hogsmill.


  1. I did a student report on the Hogsmill sewage works in 1995. Then the sewage works were unmanned, the problems then were leakages, and the movement of I think 8 lorries a week of solids to a site north of the Heathrow airport. What was worrying then was that the manager was not aware of the environmental reporting of sewage incidents that they caught - nor how the Thames river turns from Good to fair around the sewage outfall at Kingston. Since them there have been reeds installed at the charter key site, Theay are floating because they would get destroyed otherwise.

    It has been known that Sewage is let go through the river on Sundays , which is why the state of the river is pretty poor, with flies rather than emerging plants growing. Fish will come up the river but I believe it is worth doing some monitoring of the BOD on the lower section of the Hogs mill regularly. Does anyone have evidence of river improvements? Back then the Thames water manager said the site was not manned, alarms should be set off if it goes wrong and A person can be there fairly soon, er! At that point they were also thinking of capping the sewage basin because there are complaints about the smell. I have lived each side and the smell was pretty poor on at least 5 occasions last summer as I came on the K2 bus down Surbiton hill park. Still Thames water seem to take property to sell off but not reinvest to make our quality of life better. The site is so unpleasant they have not had staff working there and monitoring. Really we expect more care. What will it take for Thames water to cap the smell and take more care about leakages!
    kind regards

    Penn Griffiths BSc.

  2. Hi Penn
    Thanks for your comments. I recognise everything you say as I have had a long association with the Hogsmill and we found the worst spills happened on a Sunday. We used to say Sunday was tank cleaning day.

    There is a River Fly project which has been monitoring the river as part of a project undertaken by South East Rivers Trust. I can provide further information if you wish but my evaluation is that any improvements in river quality are purely ephemeral.

  3. See also :additional evidence of sewage http://kubiodiversity.blogspot.co.uk/2016/03/10-03-2016-battle-of-sexes-lost-in-river.html?m=1#more

  4. apparently its happened again after yesterdays deluge will post more info when i find out more

  5. I don't usually publish anonymous comments. However I haven't seen any evidence of a sewage spill. There is no additional rag along the corridor or at the sewage outfall. Here are the river levels over the last couple of days and I admit, there is a bigger than expected spike at 9.30pm last night, but there has been a lot of rain.

  6. Decent article, thankful for more information
    sewage cleanup


Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts

Most viewed

Heritage Trees part 2: street trees.

Fishing the Hogsmill

Seething Wells: they've done it again