A riverside footpath popular with ramblers was flooded over the Bank Holiday Weekend after a crack in a storage tank resulted in the escape of thousands of gallons of treated waste water from the Chickenhall Lane Water Treatment Plant.
On Sunday a local man out walking his dog along the Itchen Navigation spotted water spurting out of the tank and reported it to local County Councillor Andy Moore, who then alerted the Environment Agency and Southern Water.
It’s thought that the foul smelling waste water had been gushing out under pressure for some hours flooding a 20 foot stretch of the footpath up to a depth of eight inches befre running off onto to farmland.
The last time there was an unathorised spillage was exactly a year ago in May 2015.
The environment agency were quckly on the scene and were prepared to deploy bunding to try and dam the spillage but as soon as Southern Water workers arrived at the plant they were able to bring things back under control and by 2pm the footpath was completely passable once more.
A Water Baliff confirmed that the water had not run into the river where it would have posed a threat to the salmon stock.
Cllr Moore told Eastleigh News:
“This is the third time this has happened in two years they need to invest in Infrastrucure, this plant is maxed out.”
The Ukip councillor warned:
“ With the 20 to 30,000 houses that Eastleigh Borough Council is intent on building, what’s it going to be like in the future? It can’t cope.”
A Bishopstoke dog walker, Steve Chant stopped by to say:
“It seems to go from bad to worse, this isn’t a one off, to my knowledge this has happened four times now.
“Looking around the place (the Water treatment Plant) it seems to be so old fashioned and bodged up. It wants some proper money spending on it to sort out so this wont happen again because you can guarantee it will.”
The Water Baliff also said:
“We’re getting fed up with this.
“The last time this happened was a bank holiday too. They just don’t seem to have the cover on a bank holiday.”
A spokesperson for Southern Water today confirmed that there had been “an unathourised release to land” adding that no water courses had been affected.
“The Environment Agency notified us at at 1pm and our crew were on site approximately an hour later.
“The water did run onto a public footpath which we cleared urgently.”
The spokesperson said that the water that escaped was 95% treated and had been screened to remove items like tissues and tampons.
Regarding future demands on the sewage infrastructure as a result of possible housing development Southern Water said:
“The wastewater network in Eastleigh has ample capacity to cater for the current and growing population and we continue work closely with local authorities to ensure appropriate improvements are made to cater for future development in the area.
“Over our current five-year investment period – 2015-2020 – we are investing around £800k on general refurbishment at the treatment works.”