East Devon councillors have summoned South West Water (SWW) chiefs to a special meeting over spewing sewage – after one representative bemoaned ‘turds in the street’.
The district authority’s scrutiny committee heard the issue was ‘a matter of massive public concern’ and unanimously backed talks with the company, writes Local Democracy Reporter Joe Ives.
SWW has been under the spotlight after it was revealed it made 42,000 raw sewage discharges into Devon rivers and coastal areas last year.
Problems have been particularly bad for residents in Clyst St Mary, which has flooded with sewage at least 11 times this year.
SWW has offered portable loos to the worst-affected households, some of which were left without working toilets for up to 60 hours at a time.
The situation attracted criticism from local councillors and East Devon MP Simon Jupp.
Addressing the scrutiny committee at its December meeting, Broadclyst representative Councillor Eleanor Rylance said: “We actually have turds in the streets in some places when it rains, and that’s really not on.
“This is 2021; we cannot be running a local area that has this sort of thing happening.
“We can’t have poo in the streets, we can’t have poo in the rivers and we can’t have poo in the sea.
“We need to find out why it’s happening and get it sorted out.”
West Hill and Aylesbeare ward member Cllr Jess Bailey suggested the meeting with SWW, adding: “Having clean water in our rivers and on our coast is absolutely fundamental to East Devon, both for wildlife and tourism.”
Speaking recently about concerns over flooding in East Devon, SWW’s engineering director Matt Crabtree said: “We are committed to delivering a permanent solution which will involve detailed works and upgrades to our network.”