Cobbler’s Brook Pollution

Dear All,

If you have not already seen it, please read the following announcement from the Parish Council about pollution in Cobbler’s Brook:

On a happier note, Richard has written a few more wonderful Rambles, including one about Cobbler’s Brook earlier this summer.  I have put them on our website.

All the best,

13 thoughts on “Cobbler’s Brook Pollution

  1. It has been many months since my last update, and the problem has been resolved.

    I have heard from Sayers Croft that the environment agency came and did some sampling and found no evidence of pollution.

    The source of the problem has been fixed and plenty of rainfall seems to have flushed the problem through!

  2. The Glebe drain problems

    Waverley Environmental Health have confirmed that Thames Water have completed the repairs to the sewer

    Cobblers Brook

    Thames Water confirm that debris has been removed from the first section of The Avenue.

    The Ockley Road Section, Section 2, together with a clean-up is scheduled for mid-May.
    Please do not use the brook for recreation nor eat unwashed vegetables from the affected gardens until this work has been done as detritus may still be washed down when it next rains.

  3. From the Parish bulletin 392:

    Latest update re EWHURST DRAINAGE from WBC Environmental Health

    Problem – hole in Thames Water sewer

    WBC have withdrawn the Notice served on
    The Old Rectory Nursing Home. There is no misconnection. The foul water comes from Rectory Close, The Old Rectory and parts of The Glebe.
    Foul water was/is getting out of the Thames Water sewer and contaminating the surface water system. The temporary diversion will remain until Thames Water have repaired their sewer.

    Action: Awaiting Thames Water to Repair.


    Following Thames Water’s investigations last week – I am able to report the following:-
    There were no misconnections onto the surface water system. Thames Water identified a section of the foul sewer in need of repair in The Glebe. Foul water was able to get out of the sewer into the ground and then into the surface water system which connects to The Avenue and onto Cobblers Brook. The surface water system runs close to the Thames Water sewer and is also in a poor condition. Thames Water have confirmed that they have been on site to review ground conditions ahead of carrying out works to repair the sewer, which will be undertaken in due course. Waverley Environmental Department are also investigating who is responsible for the surface water system. Meantime, temporary works undertaken on the 25th January to divert foul water in the surface water system to the foul system remain in place. The surface water system is not being impacted by the foul water.

    Please watch this space for further updates.

    Thank you.
    Val Henry WBC Ewhurst

  5. The Avenue, Cobbler’s Brook, The Glebe and Ockley Road.
    Waverley Borough Council, Thames Water and Surrey County Council

    Investigations are ongoing, they are being led by Thames Water.
    Evidence from the drainage report produced for The Old Rectory indicates the problem might arise from a public sewer.
    Further, a review of the planning history for Rectory Close adds to that evidence. However, further investigations are needed for Thames Water to confirm that this is a public sewer and find the problem.
    Thames Water have also advised that the main sewer in The Glebe will need to be lined and a date for works on site will be confirmed in due course.

    Ockley Road and The Avenue. Until it is known who is responsible for the pollution liability/options cannot be resolved.
    Surrey County Council have advised that Ockley Road and The Avenue should be worked together and that they will be working with residents to resolve their flooding.

    Further update – Foul water is no longer impacting the open surface water in The Avenue and beyond, as contaminated surface water has been temporarily redirected to the foul water system.

    A Message from Hugh Wagstaff of Waverley Borough Council

    We can now see light at the end of this tunnel.

    Waverley have identified the cause of the pollution and last Friday Environmental Health officers served a Statutory Notice on the owners of the offending property giving them three months to rectify the situation.

    To prevent further pollution and until the property is connected to the main sewer, Waverley has employed a temporary solution to ensure that all grey water and sewage downstream is fed into the sewers.

    We understand that residents can now see clear water in their surface water drains, where before the water was polluted.

    The pollution has been most obvious in the open culvert in The Avenue and although clear water is flowing it does not appear to be clearing the pollution. After The Avenue the surface water drain surfaces in the rear gardens of properties in Ockley Road. These gardens have been flooded, we believe because some current and past residents may have over many years covered and run the culvert though pipes, severely restricting the flow through the culvert, and they have also been affected by the pollution.

    Although Waverley have been involved investigating the cause of the pollution and effected a temporary solution they have no statutory responsibility for the maintenance of the culvert and /or the streams affected by the pollution. This maintenance is the responsibility of land owners adjoining the culverts.( this is known as riparian ownership and details can be seen on the Environmental Agency and Surrey County Councils websites).

    Both Thames Water and The Environment Agency have no responsibility over this matter. Responsibility falls entirely with each riparian owner, who must take appropriate action to maintain the culverts. Because this is a private matter between each riparian owner and the offending property, Waverley is unable to become involved in any claims residents may have against the offending property and they must seek their own advice on this matter.

    Our strategy is to now work with Surrey County Council who have statutory responsibility to deal with the flooding in the Ockley Road properties. When they have been able to resolve the flooding they may write to riparian owners confirming their responsibility to maintain and clear the open culvert adjacent to their properties. It is unlikely that they would take any legal action as this would be inappropriate. As Waverley is also a riparian owner we would be involved in the clearance of the culvert.

    We understand the that the offending property owners are prepared to look at clearing the pollution from the culvert themselves.

    Best wishes

    Hugh Wagstaff, Head of Housing Operations

  7. The Avenue, Cobbler’s Brook
    and associated problems

    From the Ewhurst Bulletin:

    The latest update is as follows; Waverley met the architect on site last week with the builder that completed refurbishment work at the offending address in the summer of 2020. They had operatives on site in the afternoon checking drain runs etc. We are impressed with their commitment in getting the issue resolved as soon as possible. However, it is much more complicated than we thought following our meeting on 11 December when we identified the offending connection. It appears the drainage system the recent works has connected onto is the original drainage system and may have always carried both surface water and foul waste away from this property. Therefore it is not a simple separation of the foul and surface water drains affecting the new properties introduced to the drain run in the summer. The drainage system serving this property will have to be diverted somewhere, most likely to the nearest inspection chamber (manhole) which is around 100 meters away. The pipes will need to be laid underground and could attract requirement for licenses from S.C.C. and so on. We have produced some drainage plans which have been shared with the architects and builders to consider the most appropriate long term solution. They have also been asked to contact the various nearby properties to see if there is a private sewer that they can connect up with.

    The quick response is clearance of the open culvert and deep inspection chamber in the The Glebe. This work is due to take place on Friday. We will meet contractors on site to check if we can shut off our estate from the drainage runs that follow the rear gardens of the lower Glebe and on to “The Avenue” where it connects to the open culvert. If we restrict the illegal foul waste and connect it to the foul drainage in the Council part of the estate we can manage regular clearance much more easily and it will stop foul waste tipping into the open culvert. The long term plan is once the work at the offending property is complete the drainage run will only carry surface water (and can be reconnected?). The worst case scenario is we will have to separate foul and surface water drainage systems on our section of the estate and divert to main sewage system and surface water to new soakaways. It’s too early to say what the final solution will be but as events unfold we can provide updates.

  8. Cobblers Brook update

    An official source has said:
    “ One cause of the problem has been identified and remedial work is in hand.
    In the meantime, the Avenue culvert will be cleared next week”.
    Of course there is still more work to be done but at least for now, The Avenue, Farthingham Lane and Cobbler’s Brook via the Ockley road should be spared yet more detritus. Normal use of the brook should not recommence until the Environment Agency has given the all-clear.
    More news as it becomes available.

  9. From the Parish Council:

    After extensive further investigations, there has been a great deal of work carried out by Waverley District Council, together with the Environment Agency and Thames Water with input from SCC

    It has now been discovered that there are a considerable number of problems and the investigations are extensive and covering a very wide geographical area. It has become very complex. It is likely that this is going to take a good deal of time to resolve unfortunately, involving a variety of issues that have been discovered.

    There is due to be a further ebulletin sent to subscribers very shortly. Onward bulletins will be sent when there are further matters to report. Please encourage anyone concerned about this matter to subscribe to the parish council e-Bulletin so they can be informed.

    Subscribe to our E-Bulletin—latest-news

    Understandably this problem is resulting in a mass of communications and it should be remembered that the Parish Councillors are unpaid volunteers and are all doing their best to keep abreast of the situation and the emails and phone calls they are receiving.
    All avenues are being explored to remedy the issues as soon as possible.

  10. From the Ewhurst email Bulletin:


    Although remedial work has not physically started on the problem with “smelly grey water” there will hopefully be a cooperation between Waverley Borough Council, Thames Water and Surrey County Council to ensure that all necessary work is done and a clean-up operation to follow in order to ensure that all is clear down to the brook.
    Much behind the scenes planning is going in to this project to ensure satisfaction.
    This will not happen overnight as there is much to do, but please rest assured that there will little or no Covid-19 delay and the powers that be are very keen to ensure a satisfactory conclusion as soon as possible.

  11. From the Ewhurst Parish Council Bulletin:

    Update on our drainage problems
    from Waverley Borough Council.

    “The drains were jetted and dye tested last Thursday from Bramble Court through to the Avenue. There were 2 minor blockages on the run which have been dealt with. The dye test got all the way through from Bramble Court to the Avenue. We are negotiating a start date to deal with correcting the offending connections this should happen within 2 weeks or sooner. There has been 2 significant building projects completed by private residents in “The Glebe” and both were very helpful with access and recent knowledge of drainage information, their drains are in fine condition. The contractor didn’t find any other offending connections. I hope once the corrections have been made and we leave a period of perhaps two weeks and take a further water sample we will know if we have a solution to the problem.”

  12. Evening, do we know if cobbler Brook is safe now. I have seen the signs still up recently but am not sure if it still an issue. Thank you

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