Expect to see more sewage spills

All proposed facilities in our greenbelt, and especially the Marlow Film Studio project, will put further strain on the nearby Thames Water Little Marlow Sewage Treatment Works (LMSTW).

In 2017, Thames Water was ordered to pay a record £20 million fine for several discharges of raw sewage, including from the LMSTW. And it still happens: people get sick after a swim and last summer Little Marlow was flooded with sewage after a machinery failure.

Data from Event Duration Monitors at LMSTW (installed in 2018) shows a worrying trend of an increasing number of incidents and duration of sewage discharges:

Earlier in 2021, there was an equipment outage and Thames Water used their storm overflow tanks to minimise the sewage discharges, as described in their report to the March 2021 LMSTW Liaison Committee.

Clearly, there is limited to no additional capacity at the site. Working from home is having an effect (from the same report):
“Thames Water confirmed the normal diurnal patterns of peak flow in morning and evening had been replaced with 12 hours of higher flow rates.”

In other words: “higher flow” is now the norm, without additional industrial complexes. Will this photo from the Environment Agency in 2013 of the Bourne End Marina become a normal sight on our Thames?

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