Parish Council & South West Water
10th May 2018
South West Water (SWW) Represented by:
Perry Hobbs – Head of Strategic Investment Planning Richard Behan – Flood Risk Manager
Ian McFerlane – Customer Services and Network Manager
Perranzabuloe Parish Council
(PC) Councillor Steve Arthur Councillor Karen Colam
Councillor William Rogers
Perranzabuloe Neighbourhood Plan (NDP)
The meeting had been arranged by William Rogers as a chance for both the PC and NDP understand more about the issues facing SWW to deliver its responsibilities for waste water collection and treatment. Whether the current infrastructure is sufficient, what improvements are necessary and whether there is capacity to collect and treat more particularly if there is to be more residential development in the parish.
All parties were aware of problems including flooding of Thywanhale Square and overloading of the pumping station on Station Road.
The PC and NDP explained that clean sea and stream water all year round is vital for safety and amenity of visitors and all year round residents alike. The local economy is largely built on tourism with the beach and water sport as the central theme. Many residents have chosen the area because of the landscape and lifestyle. Awareness to environmental issues is growing illustrated by the popular designation of the Perranporth as a plastic free zone.
SWW explained that responsibilities for the flooding management collection of foul and surface water are split between:
Environment Agency – Sea and rivers
Cornwall Council (highways) – Highways
SWW – Sewers, surface water from hardstanding within the curtilage of properties
Defra – A government regularity authority with responsibilities to monitor water and sea water quality including The Bathing Water Directive
Perranporth – Surface Water and sewerage drains to the pumping station on Station Road from where it is pumped to Droskyn, then to a treatment works at Cligga and with a discharge of treated water into the sea.
Goonhavern – Has its own treatment works and the treated water discharge goes into streams.
The historic network was built in the anticipation that rain water would dilute effluent before it being run into the sea. The Clean Sweep policy introduced 18 years ago has been built on the basis that raw waste should not enter the rivers or sea but be treated first.
Problems arise primarily because water enters the SWW system from surface run off such as highways (which could be discharged into streams and rivers – for example Station Road) and from historic mine shafts and addits (for example Thywanhale Square). These extraordinary loads stretch the pumping station in Perranporth beyond its capacity and can cause outflows of untreated effluent. SWW has permits for a limited number of Combined Sewage Outflows (CSOs) at designated points and has obligations to both report incidents to the Environment Agency and monitor water quality on a continuous basis.
For new development it is now theoretically required that surface water does not flow offsite into the sewerage system thereby reducing the volumes pumped to treatment works. The historic network remains though and Cornwall Council did not take the opportunity to rectify local problems on Station Road from highway run off when the Environment Agency undertook flood management works a few years ago. In terms of new developments, these often manage to present a case that allows them to not deal with surface water onsite, but discharge it into the existing system.
Specific problems around Bolenna Park and Hendrawna Lane were discussed and SWW will investigate further.
The tankering of waste from Station Road to Droskyn over the recent winter had been as a response to the broken main between the two locations on St Georges Hill. This main has now been repaired.
SWW explained that are not a statutory consultee in the planning process. They are consulted but their views can be overruled. The grant of planning permission gives property owns the right to connect and SWW are obliged to provide service irrespective of whether their infrastructure is adequate.
All the respective agencies hold duty of care responsibilities and issues arising from the historic networks along the North Coast are well known. A long term Drainage and Waste Water Plan is being compiled and to cover a future 25 year period, however, this plan won’t be ready until 2022.
The PC and NDP expressed the view that a large, probably majority, proportion of residents would like to prevent further development because of inadequacies in the current infrastructure. SWW responded that in their experience using capacity problems to halt development rarely works in the long term. However they were keen to promote that the NDP include policies to tackle all drainage issues with future development targets to be linked to completed improvements.
In short the Perranporth pumping and treatment works could support future development IF there was proper separation of surface run off from household waste as could Goonhavern to a lessor extent but which benefits from an easier topography.
An example of a multi authority agreement known as Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Llanelli was discussed. Under this agreement developers are required to make provision for the removal of storm water from the system before new foul water is introduced. This model could be on a 1:1 or possibly a 2:1 ratio basis.
Funding for improvements works could come from the following sources:
Central Government – Flooding and Coastal Defence Projects Community Infrastructure Levy – Cornwall Council
Highways – Cornwall Council
SWW water to provide more information of the Llanelli MOU and to investigate further problems at Bolenna and Hendrawna
SWW to revert on why the spill alert system only works during the bathing season and not year round.
PC to discuss
NDP to develop draft policies for community feedback