Suds mystery baffling landowner

Dominic Bareham MYSTERY surrounds soapy water flowing into a dyke on Belton Fen, driving away much of the wildlife.Landowner Andrew Jenner said the polluted water had affected colonies of stickleback fish, newts, toads and frogs.

Dominic Bareham

MYSTERY surrounds soapy water flowing into a dyke on Belton Fen, driving away much of the wildlife.

Landowner Andrew Jenner said the polluted water had affected colonies of stickleback fish, newts, toads and frogs.

The 57-year-old, who lives in St John's Road, Belton said the problems had been on-going for three months.


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He had contacted the county council's highways department about the suspect water and was told by officers who visited the site that the soap was coming from a washing machine which had been plumbed into the wrong pipe.

He said water company Anglian Water as well as the Environment Agency had investigated where the soapy water was coming from but their searches had so far drawn a blank.

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The pipe collects surface rainwater from Deben Drive, St John's Road and Farman Close in the village and transports it to the dyke behind Mr Jenner's home before it flows into another dyke at Stepshort, and then on into the River Waveney.

The father-of-three bought the fen two years ago with the aim to conserve it as a wildlife area and he has installed wire to collect waste material from the pipe to prevent it flowing further downstream. However, the soapy water has been able to get through.

He said the highways department officer had told him there were two pipes the errant homeowner could have plumbed the washing machine into - one to collect foul water and the other surface water- but had connected to the latter rather than the former.

A concerned Mr Jenner has been forced to move much of the remaining wildlife affected to a large pond he owns on the fen to prevent more seeking a safer habitat.

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “We are aware of the issue that Mr Jenner has raised and have been in meetings with Anglian Water to see if there is a way to resolve the problem at Stepshort pumping station.

“There has been minimal effect on the environment and by the time any of the water from the drain on Belton Fen reaches the River Waveney it has been very diluted and causes no environmental problem.”

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