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Campaigning Against Water Pollution

Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) Problem

The Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods have been campaigning against Yorkshire Water for a number of years regarding water pollution in Gledhow Beck and Gledhow Lake.

Pollution comes from three Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) which allow untreated sewage to flow into the beck during periods of heavy rain. This sewage includes "floating debris" such as toilet paper, used condoms, and sanitary towels, and these items can frequently be seen hanging from the CSO grills or collecting in the beck and lake.

Combined Sewer Overflow pollution Combined Sewer Overflow pollution

The campaign has made some progress, and work was carried out to update the CSOs by mid April 2003. Four existing CSO settling tanks (on Gledhow Valley Rd, Harrogate Rd, Devonshire Cres, and Princes Ave) were enlarged to capacities of 60 cubic metres each, and had screens added to filter out much of the floating debris. However, this work is classed as "aesthetic only" since sewage will still flow into the beck and lake.

Top of new CSO settling tank

Leaking Sewer Problem

More recently the woods have been suffering the effects of a blocked sewer leaking raw effluence straight down the side of the valley.

Leaking sewer pollution Leaking sewer pollution

The Friends tried for months to persuade Yorkshire Water, Leeds City Council or the Environment Agency to take responsibility for the sewer and to clean things up, but it was an uphill struggle. The strength of local campaigning, plus publicity on Radio Leeds (see the Press Clippings & Media Publicity section for transcripts and downloadable versions of the interviews) finally persuaded Leeds Environmental Health to take action and clear out the sewer, but it is still not clear what will happen if the situation recurs in the future.

Clearing out the sewer Clearing out the sewer

If you have any questions or comments related to water pollution issues surrounding Gledhow Beck, Gledhow Lake or the Woods in general, please contact us and let us know.

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