Lanes cross connection search solves pollution problem in hidden river

Lanes Group drainage engineers have helped solve a pollution problem in one of the UK’s most famous rivers where it was hidden from view under a shopping centre.

They were called in to search for the source of raw sewage coming from a surface water drain after it was spotted by construction workers.

The sewage was seen flowing from an outfall into the River Mersey, at the point that the river runs under the centre of Stockport, Greater Manchester, in a giant culvert.

The pollution problem was only found because the construction workers were erecting scaffolding ready to carry out inspections and repairs on the culvert roof.

Simon Roberts, Area Development Manager for Lanes Group in Manchester, said: “The Mersey is hidden from view, you really wouldn’t know that it is flowing beneath your feet as you stand in the centre of Stockport.

“We were asked to survey the pipe and find where the sewage was coming from. We used a CCTV drainage survey camera to get HD quality video images from inside the pipe.

“It didn’t take us too long to find the source of the problem, which was a cross-connected pipe about 20 metres away from the outfall into the Mersey.”

A sewer cross-connection is where a foul water pipe is connected, accidently or deliberately, to a surface water pipe, carrying water that is clean enough to be discharged into natural water courses.

Armed with a full CCTV drainage survey report, which includes the video evidence, the construction company, which had been working for Stockport Council, alerted the water company, United Utilities.

It then arranged to carry out urgent repairs and investigate how the cross-connection occurred.

Simon Roberts said: “We are often called in to help investigate pollution incidents like this. In some cases, cross connections can occur by accident. In others, it appears that some contractors are tempted to cut corners.

“It’s important to deal with these pollution problems quickly, to prevent environmental damage and health hazards. At Lanes, we have all the expertise and equipment needed to get the job done.”

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