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Agenda item

Presentation from Severn Trent Water

To receive an update on the works carried out to the Severn Ham as a result of the Scrutiny Review of Water Supply Outage in 2019.


11.1          The Chair indicated that two representatives from Severn Trent Water had attended the meeting to give an update on the works that had been carried out to the Severn Ham as a result of the Scrutiny Review of Water Supply Outage undertaken in 2019. 

11.2          The representatives from Severn Trent explained that, in terms of monitoring, an automated system was being used to oversee the mains under the Ham 24 hours per day, seven days a week, with a daily check carried out to ensure that any leaks across the Ham could be identified and repaired immediately; this system would remain until the works had been completed and the new mains were in place.  Severn Trent operatives were currently on site and were making good progress.  When they had last attended the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the representatives from Severn Trent had explained that it was intended to either replace or re-line the mid-level pipes across the Severn Ham.  One of the benefits of this was that it would create resilience in the pipes – this was not necessary but, given that it was a challenging site, there was always a risk of no supply events when the system failed.  Furthermore, the site was valuable in environmental terms - being a Site of Special Scientific Interest - and replacing the mains would significantly reduce the likelihood of leaks on the Ham which caused disruption when Severn Trent had to access the area to repair them; it would also reduce the risk of sudden bursts which caused even greater disturbance to the Ham for emergency repairs.  As such, Severn Trent had proceeded with the preferred option of replacing the pipes which offered the best long term solution in terms of disturbance to the site and operational risk.  Nevertheless, it remained a complex site on which to work and flooding and COVID-19 had made this particularly challenging over the last year.  Notwithstanding this, significant progress had been made since March 2021 with the main focus at this time being on the laying of the pipes which would be followed by pipe testing/sampling in August along with the initial reinstatement of three quarters of the working area.  Connections and commissioning of the new mains was planned for September and there would then be further reinstatement - Severn Trent was working closely with the Severn Ham Committee, Natural England and others in terms of how to do that.  The primary risk for delivery of the scheme was wet weather and flooded fields but, as things stood, there was no reason why the programme would not be completed on time. 

11.3           In terms of communications, Members were advised that Severn Trent recognised the valuable nature of the site and the importance of engaging with stakeholders to agree how best to carry out the work, reinstate the land and obtain various permissions.  Weekly updates were provided to the Severn Ham Committee which were uploaded to social media and posters were being put up within the information boards on site.  This had gone well to date and Severn Trent had received positive feedback about how they had engaged so it was hoped everyone had a good understanding of what they were doing and why.  Particular reference was made to the fact that Curlew inhabited the site and operatives were taking particular care to stay away from any nesting areas with bird dissuasion measures being implemented to discourage nesting in the working area. 

11.4          A Member questioned whether the connections and commissioning stage would involve any water outages for residents.  In response, the representative from Severn Trent confirmed that there were two mains pipes, one of which would be switched off and isolated whilst the other remained active meaning no loss of water for residents.  Another Member queried whether there had been any leaks from other pipes across the Ham and was advised that one leak had been picked up last summer which Severn Trent had responded to accordingly; there had been no further leaks since that time.  A Member sought assurance that all valves had now been located and were working properly as this was an issue that had been identified by the scrutiny review.  The representative from Severn Trent confirmed that this work had been done shortly after the original water outage incident and remained up to date and in place. 

11.5          The Chair thanked the representatives from Severn Trent for their informative presentation and their proactive response to the review of the water supply outage.  It was

RESOLVED          That the update on the works carried out to the Severn Ham as a result of the Scrutiny Review of Water Supply Outage in 2019 be NOTED.