Posted by: westlancashirerecord | June 22, 2016

The Relentless Sewage Campaigner

Burscough and its flooding issues is once again highlighted in exchanges of correspondence between Burscough resident and relentless campaigner Gavin Rattray and United Utilities, whose claim to “helping life run smoothly” makes a mockery of the reality. Think United Utilities, think raw sewage in our streets, in 2016! uulogo
Bearing in mind the UU standards of service statement that “We aim to give you great service” Your satisfaction is really important to us, so we aim to keep improving our service by listening to your needs. And if things go wrong, we’ll put it right as quickly as possible and, where necessary, we’ll compensate you”! Now read the following;

Dear Mr Chadwick
Please don’t consider this email to be just nit picking. It is primarily a request to urgently help those residents, badly affected by the flooding we have already discussed, who have come forward with new evidence. See B) on the preceding email: The following was posted by a resident on facebook. “The bottom of Lordsgate Lane L40 7ST, suffers considerable flooding every time it rains hard. Usually around 12″ deep, however after Saturday’s downpour [11/06/16] it was double that, it covered peoples driveways and gardens. The drains are obviously linked down here, as more often than not, when it floods, there is raw sewerage coming up from the grids.” Lordsgate lane L40 7ST (If you want the name of the writer get in touch as I can supply it outside this email). Do you now agree that there is regular flooding due to HI on Lordsgate Lane? And what action are UU going to take?

See Reference WP_20151226_10_54_52 on CAS16-0010-8012:
(I have recently acquired quite a lot of photographic evidence of widespread flooding in this area. Please let me know if you wish to see it.)
If you examine the sewer map supplied for the recent Meadowbrook planning application as I have, you can work out that the water in the culverted watercourse comes from UUs surface water sewer behind my house on 143 Liverpool Road South. So, correct me if I’m wrong, UU are attempting to say that the riparian owners of the drain transporting UUs water are at fault. Yet, knowing UUs network is under capacity as UU have stated so many times to WLBC and confirmed to me, riparian owners will never be able to stop your drains surcharging onto their roads because your network has insufficient capacity!
Therefore, please can UU now explain what urgent action they are going to take to stop their surface water sewers flooding the roads/houses at Higgins Lane/Truscott Road?
Best regards Gavin Rattray

Dear Mr Rattray

Our ref: CAS16-0035-7989
Thank you for your email on 4 and 16 June 2016, addressed to our Wastewater Services Director Simon Chadwick. I am sorry that you have had to contact us again in relation to your concerns about the flooding around Burscough and I appreciate you taking the time to speak with me on 16 June. I look forward to hearing from you when you have some dates available for a further meeting.

Following our telephone conversation, I understand you were contacted by our planning team who advised the camera survey of the sewers would be carried out on 17 June. I have checked to see if the results are available for the camera survey however the full notes are not available. I will chase an update today and contact you by the end of this week to update you.

In relation to point A from your email on 4 June, the flooding on 26 December 2016 has been recorded as a failure of our pumping station. The flooding at Lordsgate Lane, point B of your email, was investigated following your report and we found a collapse on the combined public sewer. This has been recorded on our systems as a sewer collapse, however they are no previous reports of flooding reported to us.

Following your email to Simon on 16 June, and reports of comments made on Facebook about flooding on Lordsgate Lane, I have checked the postcode you provided and found that no one has contacted us to report any flooding. As discussed yesterday, it is very important that flooding is reported to us to allow investigations to take place and confirm the cause. The quickest way to report flooding is by ringing us on 0345 6723 723. The line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If possible please post this in the Facebook group so residents can report similar incidents especially if there are ever signs of sewerage in the water.

To answer point C, we investigated your report of flooding at School Lane and confirmed there is no public sewer under the railway bridge and the flooding at this location would be the responsibility of Lancashire County Council. Therefore, we have no recorded incidents of flooding at this location. Unfortunately, under the Data Protection Act 1998, I am unable to confirm or deny if the property owner contacted us directly regarding flooding in their home.

As discussed on 16 June you can submit an Environment Information Request via the email address I gave you,, for information on the flooding history in Burscough for the last 15 years. The Legal team will look into your request for you, this can take up to 40 working days, depending on the detail required. As promised, you may find this link helpful in relation to your request for information.

I fully understand and appreciate the concerns you have regarding the flooding in Burscough, please be assured we are taking your concerns very seriously and we will continue to invest money regionally to achieve a targeted reduction in any flooding from our sewerage network. Unfortunately, to date a Capital Investment programme is not planned for Burscough, but your continued support by reporting flooding incidents will help to increase the priority for investment.

There is a limit to the capacity of any drainage system and any storms that exceed the design or operating characteristics of a system will likely result in flooding. However, we will continue to investigate reports of flooding and ensure they are recorded on our systems should the cause be related to our assets.

For a copy of our complaints procedure and details of the Consumer Council for Water, the Independent customer watchdog, please click on this link Complaints Procedure

I look forward to hearing from you soon, however, I will contact you this week to update you on the camera survey results.

Yours sincerely,

Emma Bateson
Case Manager
Dear Simon Chadwick

Thank you very much for the email from Emma Bateson, who has answered part of my emails to you. However, please appreciate that I addressed my earlier emails to yourself because you began a communication with me following my email to your CEO which he ignored; and your emails raised other issues that I feel only you can answer, one being,
“Is UU’s attempt to mislead myself [about UUs long term knowledge of Burscough’s shortage of sewer network capacity and known tendency to flood widely], and the other parties copied into the email, a strategy to prevent it being put in special measures by OFWAT?” Therefore, I would much rather wait until you have the time to respond to all of the points yourself. Would 14 days be an adequate time for you to respond to my emails dated 4th and 16th June.

Best regards, Gavin Rattray

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