The Parish Council has regularly contacted representatives at Thames Water (TW) to complain about the noise and disturbance that is caused by the tanker operations at the pumping station in Dry Lane. The good news is that there may be an end to overnight pumping by the tankers.
The sewers through the village are letting in groundwater. This increases the volume of foul water that runs through to the pumping station in Dry Lane. The pumps in the pumping station are unable to cope with the increased volume and so the tankers are removing the excess (up to 2,400 gallons per day in the wettest period).
TW are working on a scheme to repair the sewers and stop the groundwater getting into them. When the repair is done, the tanker operations will stop.
Tankers have been operating in Crawley every winter for the last three years. Each year, as the weather improves and the ground water levels drop, the problem at the pumping station goes away and tanker operations can be halted.
Currently the tankers are operating on a 24hrs/day regime. However, as the ground begins to dry out, we are reaching a point where TW may be able to reduce the number of tankers. On 25th March 2021 the TW manager who is responsible for the tanker operation gave an undertaking that he would change from 24hr working to daytime only working (6am to 6pm). They will stop the night-shift (6pm to midnight to 6am). TW advise that this change in routine will begin on 26th March 2021.
TW did make it clear that tankers will return immediately if the levels in the pumping station begin to increase. If this is found to be necessary, it might be possible to operate an 18hrs/day regime and not to have to return to 24hrs/day.
In the longer term, works to rebuild the sewers that run under Foxburrow Lane should provide a permanent solution. This repair would stop groundwater from getting into the sewers and the pumping station would then cope with the volume of sewage in the village without the need of tankers to take away the excess. TW are getting prices to carry out the work but it will be a big engineering job that will require ground water lowering to enable TW to access and rebuild the sewers (that will be expensive!).
The PC view is that TW have recognised the need to rectify the problem and are taking active steps to do something about it. However, the best we can expect is that these works will be undertaken during the summer and that tankers will not have to return through the autumn and winter of 2021.
Please contact Mark McCappin via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.