The clear stream

Blocked sewer was cause of contamination in Sidmouth stream

Officers from East Devon District Council's Environmental Health Team, the Environment Agency and South West Water have worked together to identify the source of the occasional discharge of contaminated water from  the stream outfall at Bedford Steps, Sidmouth.

Joint survey work, undertaken by all three agencies, on the surface water and sewerage networks helped focus the investigation.  This initially indicated that the pollution was not from a single direct source and it was suspected that it could have been due to a misconnection from one or more of the  houses or businesses in the Station Road area of Sidmouth. 

A partially blocked public sewer, some distance from the beach, has already been identified as  a possible source. The blocked sewer has now been cleared and an improvement in the stream outfall is already apparent.

The council will continue to monitor the situation on the beach and South West Water will monitor the sewer and will carry out further works if they become necessary. The Environment Agency has continued to monitor water quality throughout the investigation.

Councillor Iain Chubb, East Devon District Council’s portfolio holder for the environment, said:

This has been a great example of partnership working between three public bodies who together have resolved an issue that had the potential to have a negative impact on the beach at the height of the tourist season.

I would also like to thank our StreetScene team for their hard work in cleaning the beach and putting barriers up.  Now that the stream is sparkling again, they will be tidying up the pebbles and generally making sure the whole area is looking at its best.