More worries over continued sewage spills at Riverside Park

Posted on 22nd May 2024 | in Community , Environment , Health

What’s to be done about the continued flooding of sewage over roads and gardens at Riverside Park after heavy rainfall?

Not much, according to Northumbrian Water (NWL) who told The Ambler that there hadn’t been many complaints in recent years, and that new housing developments would only have a small impact on the situation.

Flooding at Riverside Park April 2024

In a report from 2011 commissioned by NWL, a new sewage system at Riverside Park was recommended. The report also noted the storm outfall from Riverside Park to the Gut is shallow, so when the watercourse fills, an emergency flap closes, causing everything to back up. Despite this report, NWL has not invested in a new system.

New developments are also using, or planning to use the Guilder’s Burn/Gut for their surface water runoff, and to connect to the same foul waste system. In response to recent queries by The Ambler, NWL told us that plans submitted by Northumberland Estates for a development on Braid Hill would direct surface water into the Gut.

The combined sewage system at Riverside Park was unable to cope with the amount of rainwater, forcing contaminated discharges onto the road.

Plans regarding the foul waste for that development have caused concern to those living in the area. One resident told The Ambler, “We are worried that the Northumberland Estate’s latest amendments to the plans has removed the sewage pump from within the development and has instead proposed that all sewage waste from the new development be redirected to the raw sewerage drain in Riverside Park that already overflows regularly when it rains heavily.”

We asked NWL if they had any concerns regarding new developments which connect to the same part of the sewage network at Riverside Park. A spokesperson told us, “Where surface water connections are required to drain a part of the site, we seek to limit the discharge rate to minimise any impact on our network. Although any foul flows from the proposed new properties would drain to our combined network within the area, these by their nature would be small and would have minimal impact on capacity within the combined sewer.”

Flooding affected properties, and discharges from the sewer outfall at Riverside Park were partly responsible for sewage pollution alerts on Amble and Warkworth beaches in April

The Ambler understands that surface water from Cove Way next to Mariners View was to have been diverted into the Guilder’s Burn/Gut by the developer. This is still to be constructed.

Discharges also caused beach pollution alerts
Contaminated water from the storm outfall at Riverside Park into the Gut (which flows into the River Coquet) was partly responsible for recent sewage pollution alerts on Amble and Warkworth beaches, NWL confirmed to The Ambler. Alerts were posted for twelve consecutive days during April.

NWL’s spokesperson said, “We treat every incident of flooding to our customers with a great deal of sensitivity. At the point of a customer reporting an internal flooding incident we aim to be with the customer within two hours with both an operational crew and a technical specialist, for any reports of external flooding we aim to be there within four hours.

“Northumbrian Water has had two flooding incidents reported to Northumbrian Water in April 2024, with no reports in the previous three years other than Highway/Road surface flooding in 2019 which was due to extreme rainfall from overland, not from Northumbrian Waters assets.”

Anna Williams

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