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Toilets and kitchen sinks' wastewater found to feed into Harrow Lodge Park lake, Hornchurch

PUBLISHED: 11:50 04 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:33 05 May 2016

Pollution at the drain in Harrow Lodge Park. Pictured October 2015.

Pollution at the drain in Harrow Lodge Park. Pictured October 2015.

Archant

Water in a park lake is being polluted because of sediment coming from neighbouring homes' toilets, showers and sinks.

Theo Thomas from London Waterkeeper taking water samples from the inflow area at the river in Harrow Lodge Park in October last year.Theo Thomas from London Waterkeeper taking water samples from the inflow area at the river in Harrow Lodge Park in October last year.

The water of the Harrow Lodge Park lake, Hornchurch, is being soiled because pipes carrying wastewater from residential appliances have been wrongly connected to water drains, Thames Water told residents last week.

The company launched an investigation in February after the Recorder reported raw sewage was being found in the park and the lake’s water posed a “risk of disease”.

Thames Water identified six properties, including a nearby cafe, where wastewater from toilets, washing machines and kitchen sinks was linked to the surface water sewer network, which is only designed for rainwater and feeds into the lake.

This is believed to be the result of private plumbing work on new builds and extensions and has now been rectified.

But more pipe misconnections are being investigated in the area.

A Thames Water spokeswoman said: “Our ongoing investigations have led to some property owners getting their plumbing mistakes put right and we’ve seen an improvement in the quality of the water in the lake as a result of this.”

She added misconnected pipes can be damaging to the environment and urged resident to employ reputable plumbers and check, where their wastewater is going.

A quarter of one of the sewage’s main pipes was also found to be blocked by silt, a mixture of rain and wastewater, causing manholes to overflow.

The sewer pipes were last cleaned two years ago, but Thames Water has committed to cleaning them every six months.

Theo Thomas, from the charity London Waterkeeper, said: “The balance of power has shifted and people feel for the first time that Thames Water is serving them rather than ignoring them.”

Cllr Jody Ganly said these were “positive steps”.

“They have obviously identified a problem there and they have told us how they were going to address it,” she added.

Thames Water, which cannot force property owners to carry out repair work, said they are being supported by Havering Council and will keep them informed of their findings.

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