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Essential works to threatened sewer pipe in Ermington

image depicting The threatened pipe in the River Erme
The threatened pipe in the River Erme
Work is due to begin in June to replace the main sewer carrying waste from Ermington to the village's sewage treatment works.

The raw sewage pipe, which is currently laid in the bank of the River Erme, was exposed when the extreme wet weather last winter washed away part of the bank. The pipe is now considered at risk, as any more heavy rain and high river levels could wash it away, which would pollute the river and put its ecology in danger.

If the pipe were to break, raw sewage would be washed into the river, causing environmental damage. South West Water and the Environment Agency are keen to relocate the pipe as soon as possible, and have agreed a plan with Devon County Council and local landowners to move the pipe away from the bank.

One 30 metre section will have to go under the A3121 because there is no space between the road and the river. Laying the pipe in the road will necessitate a road closure for two weeks in June.

Project manager Len Rickard said: "We will be working seven days a week to complete this work as quickly as possible to minimise the inconvenience to road users.

"This is essential work which needs to be done swiftly, as we and the EA are very concerned about the exposed pipe and what could happen if it broke.

"We have agreed special permission with the county council's highways department and our aim is to be finished before the peak season for summer visitors.

"We appreciate people will be inconvenienced by the road closure but we hope residents will understand the importance and the urgency of this work so we are asking everyone to bear with us."

Footpaths along the Erme will be unaffected by the works. A diversion route has been put in place by Devon County Council.

Notes for editors

  • South West Water provides water and sewerage services to over 1.6 million people across Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset
  • South West Water operates over 630 sewage treatment works and 29 water treatment works
  • South West Water maintains 14,800km of public sewers and 15,101km of water mains
  • We supply our customers with around 349 mega litres (79 million gallons) of drinking water every day
  • On average, half a billion litres of sewage arrives at South West Water's treatment works every day
  • In 2014 South West Water will submit its business plan for the years ahead to the UK water industry regulator Ofwat. We are inviting customers to find out more and tell us what they think our priorities should be at www.southwestwater.co.uk/waterfuture

Published: 21 May 2013

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