Over the last few weeks South West Water have outlined their plans to carry out improvements to the sewerage system at the Annual Town Meeting and at a public exhibition at the Town Hall.
In summary, EU directives require SWW to improve water quality on shellfish estuaries, of which the Teign is one.
They have identified Chudleigh as an area where they can make a significant improvement to water quality. That is because much of the sewerage network in the middle of the town is old and has shared use for both sewage and rainwater run-off. This becomes a problem when there is heavy rain because the overflow procedures than cause untreated sewage to enter the Teign. The shared sewerage pipes are primarily at the top part of Fore Street, Old Exeter Street, New Exeter Street and Woodway Street. SWW plan to lay new foul water drainage pipes so that it is separated from the rainwater run-off pipes. They anticipate that once the work is done the incidents of sewage entering the Teign will be reduced by 30%. A side benefit of the work is that it is likely to reduce the incidents of basements in Fore Street being flooded.
SWW are legislatively required to carry out this work within the next two financial years. The work is likely to take around 20 weeks but will be phased to minimise disruption. Councillors have asked that when the work is taking place "business as usual" signage is erected to assist the retailers.
There is also a plan to introduce what are called "rain gardens". The idea is straightforward enough in that you remove concrete and create pourous planted areas. This is a concept introduced by Welsh Water, with significant success, and SWW propose to do something similar here in New Exeter Street using the areas at the end of parking bays.