Portable loos offered by South West Water as sewage overflow solution

The plan has been described as something from the 19th Century by local councillors.

The owners of South West Water, the Pennon Group, are the authors of a report aimed at levelling up the South West, recently praised by Boris Johnson. So is this a glimpse of the future, overdevelopment and inadequate infrastructure? – Owl


Portable loos

South West Water has apologised to the customers affected

A village flooded by sewage 11 times this year may be offered portable toilets as a short-term solution.

Some residents of Clyst St Mary, Devon, have been unable to use toilets for up to 60 hours at a time due to sewage overflows.

The plan has been described as something from the 19th Century by local councillors.

Matt Crabtree, engineering director at South West Water, said the company will “deliver the right permanent solution”.

Earlier this month, South West Water wrote to Bishops Clyst Parish Council to request a list of properties left without flushable toilets because of problems with the sewers and offered to provide portable “camping-like” toilets as a short-term solution.

Conservative Councillor Mike Howe, of East Devon District Council, said the suggestion was “hard to believe in a modern society”.

He added: “If it was the 1800s you’d sort of understand it. I struggle to understand it in this day and age.”

Mr Howe also wants all development in the West End of East Devon, to be halted until South West Water sorts out the sewage problems.

The firm has previously struggled to keep up with demand on its services, with 42,000 raw sewage discharges in 2020 alone, according to the Local Democratic Reporting Service.

Mr Howe and East Devon Conservative MP Simon Jupp recently met with South Water executives, who promised to provide monthly updates on sewage problems in the area.

“Extensive” repairs

In a letter to Bishops Clyst Parish Council, Mr Crabtree apologised to customers who had been impacted by the drainage issues.

He added: “We are continuing to investigate the cause of the issue and have been making a number of improvements to the sewer network and to the Clyst Honition pumping station, as well as adding and moving monitors to help trace the root causes.

“We are committed to delivering a permanent solution which will involve detailed works and upgrades to our network.

“These repairs will be extensive and will cause disruption to the area and because of this, we want to be absolutely sure that we have traced the cause to deliver the right permanent solution for the community.”

2 thoughts on “Portable loos offered by South West Water as sewage overflow solution

  1. Although many believe that some national and local politicians frequently talk a load of ‘faeces’ (the polite description!), this has possibly resulted in both Messrs Jupp and Howe becoming experts on the sewage overflow problems experienced by far too many residents in Clyst St Mary for far too many years?

    It must be acknowledged that by both of them ‘kicking up a stink’ together, this heaps significant media ‘poopaganda’ to hopefully influence the Pennon Group (who own South West Water) to channel their thoughts on alleviating the problems of decades of underfunding on sewerage infrastructure in this area.

    Discharging their duties as the people’s representatives must also be channelled towards controlling sewage discharges into our local coastal waters (our East Devon MP’s recent voting decision in Westminster was not popular on this issue) and hopefully the Clyst Valley District Councillor will protect Clyst St Mary from these foul drainage problems and would not wish to see any recurrences through overdevelopment of this village, although EDDC Planners approved around 2,000 ‘jobbies’ (sorry!) at Winslade Park last year and are in the process of deciding on the Reserved Matters applications for 79 new homes!

    Such significant development for an outdated village sewerage infrastructure is certainly going to result in the ‘sh** hitting the fan’ for the Pennon Group at South West Water! Hopefully they will take responsibility and the whole situation will not end up falling between numerous stools?


  2. Is this the same village (Clyst St Mary) where the residents have suffered for the last 7 odd years from a huge Anaerobic Digestion plant, sitting close to the middle of the village? I understand that many residents suffer from endless streams of tractors “moving muck and maize” from all over the county, as well as from regular putrid smells and noise polution well into the night?
    (I was told a total of over 650 formal complaints have been made to the East Devon Planners and the Environment Agency – result? – No Action whatseover)
    So on top of all this they are now suffering from sewage leaks?????
    The point of all this is that this cronic over development has taken place with the full knowledge of the EDDC planners and the local Ward Councillor who between them have taken no obvious action to help the residents at all.
    This is more than a disgrace


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