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pune
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Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 10:32 am

Let me first say, this will not be a Brexit thread or anything like that. I am thinking and treating it as something which is happening in UK to which I have some knowledge but not all. So please, no Brexit flags on this thread.

Now, from what little I have come to know that untreated raw sewage is being dumped in rivers. I saw one YT video that was apparently shot by a drone, which showed raw sewage being dumped for something like 49-50 hrs.

Now, from what I gathered, the water treatment and distribution systems were privatized about 20-30 years ago. And some private companies have made record profits, while some have made losses. But in either way, the companies blame what is happening on the infrastructure made in the 17th century or thereabouts for water treatment and distribution in the UK. Now, could somebody tell me why for 20-30 years or whatever time-frame it has been privatized, they have not been able to fix and improve on things. Especially when a lot of these things today can be done pre-fabricated and whatnot. Looking forward to learning more. Is this down to profiteering and negligence or is there more to it ???
 
Reinhardt
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 11:28 am

Humm not sure how we're going to have this conversation without mentioning Brexit tbh.

Some of it is ageing infrastructure, some of it's environmental - the last few years the UK has seen a huge amount more flash rain storms and thus storm overflows (allowed under UK law) have been pumped into the sea and rivers. There isn't enough storage capacity to deal with it.


At the same time..

https://www.newstatesman.com/environmen ... -bill-vote

Is this happening because of Brexit?
In 2018, the then-environment minister Michael Gove promised a “green Brexit”, but campaigners have suggested the Environment Bill does not bear that out. The bill, which includes rules that will allow ministers to set targets for air pollution, waste, water quality and biodiversity, has been heavily criticised, with a cross-party committee of MPs saying in 2019 that it will “severely downgrade” EU environmental rules.

But the bill isn’t the only factor at play. This week’s vote follows a decision by the Environment Agency in September to ease rules on wastewater plants discharging effluent that has not been properly treated, because problems with supply chains means they are struggling to obtain the correct chemicals. That can be more directly attributed to Brexit – although other countries are also experiencing supply chain issues because of the pandemic.

How do we solve this?
The Environment Bill goes back to the House of Lords and then returns to the Commons this week.

There are moves afoot to solve the problem: the £4.2bn Thames Tideway “supersewer” will help to prevent storm overflows from happening as frequently, although that won’t be completed until 2024.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 12:23 pm

Reinhardt wrote:
Humm not sure how we're going to have this conversation without mentioning Brexit tbh.


There is no way, and that's why we can't effectively discuss UK politics in any useful manner, while a lot has been going on. So I will sit this one out.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 12:57 pm

Rate payers resist knowing how expensive it is to provide clean water, use and contaminate it, and then clean it up. And as aforementioned during storms it is even harder. I am not convinced that this is something private industries can do better than government. Water 4.0 by an academic engineer is probably the best introduction. He starts with ancient civilizations and ends up with some engineering 'truths' that might guide is into the future.
 
GDB
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:24 pm

We often like to say how the UK punches above it's weight in some things, art and culture being one of them that has more validity than others, so think of this sewage pouring into rivers as a giant art installation, illustrating the thought processes of Johnson and his cabal, the greed, mendacity and the giant cess pit of criminal money laundering that is their paymasters in the City (or should that be 'Shitty') of London.

Of course when the Waterways agency was privatized (huh? who are they competing with?), it was sold as a means to release much needed capital for infrastructure improvements. Well the capital was generated, so why all these leaks, worsened by the massive cuts undertaken after 2010? See my previous paragraph.

Like the £37 Bn Test and Trace that failed, had that not been a Tory government our 'free' press would have banged on about it non stop, 'socialist waste' etc. But to them it did not fail, the money went to a crony of theirs who had already bollocks up a comms company but was a party donor.

But maybe the roots are deeper, I can recall teachers at school in the 70's and early 80's coming back from abroad, notably what was still called 'the Continent' and remarking how clean they were litter wise in comparison to here.
So maybe the Government banked on most people not really giving a shit, sadly they are probably right about that, as long of we have got rid of those bloody foreigners, (y'know, the ones they have been desperately trying to get back on temp. visas).

Why should they be too concerned about some green issues and people concerned about this issue generally when the fishermen and farmers, now finding they have been totally and utterly shafted by the 'Promises' of Johnson ('fuck business', his words) and Farage just sit and moan about it. When they can see the Insulate Britain protests get their agenda on the news, though they have made themselves unpopular with the public and let's say do a very poor job of media management with their spokespeople!

But if these screwed over farmers and fishermen dumped all that produce they cannot sell across roads, that twerp Rees-Mogg's home, as close to Downing Street as possible, you bet their cause would be better known. Be fun to see the Government and their press sock puppets call solid Tory and Leave voting farmers and fishermen 'layabouts' or what other stupid name Johnson might come up with.
Have they not learned anything from the French farmers? Cap Doffers, that's their and a lot other people's trouble.

So yes this sewage into waters untreated is bad for the environment, Mr Johnson's concerns about the environment are well known, now on a world stage when at the UN he talked about Kermit The Frog, or something.
King Cnut, or something like that.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 7:55 pm

Does anybody have any reference figures or anything or can share more in depth about the companies. Is there a single company or multiple companies. Are they natural monopolies or is there some sort of competition (theoretically or/and practically). If somebody can share more insight or a recent or slightly old article that tells how the privatization model happened, it would perhaps make more sense.
 
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T18
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 8:16 pm

I'm not really surprised her in the US for example I know that ST Louis with our old wastewater system will often have to release raw sewage during a rain event due to limitations of the combined sewer storm water system. Pretty sure they have been spending lots of $ to fix/replace it but I don't that they finished yet.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 8:27 pm

T18 wrote:
I'm not really surprised her in the US for example I know that ST Louis with our old wastewater system will often have to release raw sewage during a rain event due to limitations of the combined sewer storm water system. Pretty sure they have been spending lots of $ to fix/replace it but I don't that they finished yet.


Just out of curiosity, for how many years have they been fixing it ? And is it public or privately managed ???
 
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T18
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 8:31 pm

pune wrote:
T18 wrote:
I'm not really surprised her in the US for example I know that ST Louis with our old wastewater system will often have to release raw sewage during a rain event due to limitations of the combined sewer storm water system. Pretty sure they have been spending lots of $ to fix/replace it but I don't that they finished yet.


Just out of curiosity, for how many years have they been fixing it ? And is it public or privately managed ???


Looks like mostly EPA and the Metro Sewer District, 4.7 billion 23 year plan that looks to have started about 10 years ago.

https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/st-loui ... settlement
 
A101
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Oct 28, 2021 10:56 pm

It’s nothing to do with Brexit, it’s all to do with upgradeing infrastructure to stop it.

Yes the infrastructure is old government privatisation should have led to an up grade of the infrastructure. The cause has and is in the all the way when something is privatised, Government gets a quick budget boost for a short time but they do not stipulate in contracts that the business taking on have to upgrade the infrastructure that is the problem. Tell me what business is going to spend more than they have to unless it makes it more profitable.

This problem has been in the making way before the Brexit referenda
 
tommy1808
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 4:23 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Rate payers resist knowing how expensive it is to provide clean water, use and contaminate it, and then clean it up. .


In Germany everybody knows, since it is an at cost system with everybody paying the same per litre.
Bottom line: clean drinking water is cheaper than treating seawage. 70ct/1000L vs. 1,79 EUR/1000L for seawage with 400-800g COB/cbm. Plus infrastructure fee for hook-up depending on qm and stories.

Best regards
Thomas
 
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seb146
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 4:38 am

I am probably posting something that has been posted before but it could be because of infrastructure. PDX had regular raw sewage spills into the Willamette River (runs through downtown) when they had heavy rains. The drain pipes were replaced for miles and miles and billions of US dollars and raw sewage spills have happened once.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 5:12 am

Having overflows during strong rains is the normal technology standard, as long as you have a system that collects waste water and rain water.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:26 am

Those who are talking about rains, Is UK going through seasonal rains at this point in time ???
 
Reinhardt
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 10:01 am

seahawk wrote:
Having overflows during strong rains is the normal technology standard, as long as you have a system that collects waste water and rain water.


It does have that system but it is nowhere near sufficient for volume of rain nor the population of the UK as it is today. That's why the system reaches a limit, there is not enough overflow capacity so they vent to the sea and rivers. Of course they make enough money to create more capacity so that is a business decision on the water companies part, and not sufficient regulation or enforcement from Government (particularly this government).


pune wrote:
Those who are talking about rains, Is UK going through seasonal rains at this point in time ???


This is the UK we are talking about. It's heading to Autumn and Winter. But the last decade has seen more serious flooding events, and higher volume of rain in a shorter spaces of time. The system just can't cope (along with the reasons I cited in my first post re a certain event in 2016 which has (despite what another poster said) had an effect).
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 10:51 am

Reinhardt wrote:
seahawk wrote:
Having overflows during strong rains is the normal technology standard, as long as you have a system that collects waste water and rain water.


It does have that system but it is nowhere near sufficient for volume of rain nor the population of the UK as it is today. That's why the system reaches a limit, there is not enough overflow capacity so they vent to the sea and rivers. Of course they make enough money to create more capacity so that is a business decision on the water companies part, and not sufficient regulation or enforcement from Government (particularly this government).


pune wrote:
Those who are talking about rains, Is UK going through seasonal rains at this point in time ???


This is the UK we are talking about. It's heading to Autumn and Winter. But the last decade has seen more serious flooding events, and higher volume of rain in a shorter spaces of time. The system just can't cope (along with the reasons I cited in my first post re a certain event in 2016 which has (despite what another poster said) had an effect).


Aha, I see what you mean.
 
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seahawk
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 2:25 pm

Reinhardt wrote:
seahawk wrote:
Having overflows during strong rains is the normal technology standard, as long as you have a system that collects waste water and rain water.


It does have that system but it is nowhere near sufficient for volume of rain nor the population of the UK as it is today. That's why the system reaches a limit, there is not enough overflow capacity so they vent to the sea and rivers. Of course they make enough money to create more capacity so that is a business decision on the water companies part, and not sufficient regulation or enforcement from Government (particularly this government).


If you use a mixed system, you will always dumb into the river or lake. This rainwater should be treated before being dumped though, although the treatment is much simpler than what a sewage treatment plant does to the pure waste water.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 4:30 pm

Most RWH (Rainwater Harvesting Systems) domestic and semi-industrial ones I know do that. For clear drinking water I know of only my state i.e. Maharashtra, India and Himachal Pradesh, India where I can drink tap water without an issue. The few times I have abroad, most systems I have seen already have some type of RO or some filter, so don't really know how good or bad the tap water is. It didn't even cross my mind then :(
 
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N14AZ
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Oct 29, 2021 6:57 pm

I designed wastewater treatment plants for about 20 years. Some comments from my side:

pune wrote:
Now, from what little I have come to know that untreated raw sewage is being dumped in rivers. I saw one YT video that was apparently shot by a drone, which showed raw sewage being dumped for something like 49-50 hrs.

(1) As others have already mentioned, in combined sewer systems (sewage drainage and storm water drainage in one combined sewer) there will be always overflows of combined flow in case of storm weather conditions. During dry weather conditions there should be no overflows at the CSOs (combined sewer overflow).

(2) However, and I see this regularly in developing countries, sometimes there is an overflow even during dry weather. This is often the case when the drainage network is in bad conditions and so-called infiltration water enters the drainage network, e.g. groundwater entering the system via damaged sewer sections.

(3) Sometimes when being discharged into the receiving waters the treated wastewater looks „dirty“ . But sometimes it’s just an optical illusion due to the nature of the river (like the conjunction of the white and black river in South America). There is one WWTP in Bavaria where citizens constantly call the environmental protection authority and complain about the color. But in fact the treated wastewater complies with all requested effluent concentrations. But this is rather a very special case and most probably not what you have seen …

(4) another option would be a break down of a pumping station.

Do you have a link to the video you saw?

pune wrote:
Now, from what I gathered, the water treatment and distribution systems were privatized about 20-30 years ago. And some private companies have made record profits, while some have made losses. But in either way, the companies blame what is happening on the infrastructure made in the 17th century or thereabouts for water treatment and distribution in the UK.

Now you refer to WATER treatment. Or do you mean WASTEWATER treatment? The water supply company is not necessarily the company in charge of wastewater disposal. Sometimes one company or organization covers both (which has of course a lot of advantages) but sometimes not.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Sat Oct 30, 2021 4:34 pm

While the actual video is down or has been taken off, there is still the Guardian video which shows that dumping, although I am not sure if it reported that the wastewater was dumped in that place for 49 hrs. I have become deaf due to covid, and that video has no subtitles, so would have to learn from you or whoever cares to share what they reported on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTwjUh92j00

I do know that the UK Govt. for now has taken a U-turn. Once the bad headlines may go away, they still might do it, as that is how Governments work. I am basing it on how the Indian Govt. works and in this case, both Governments are very similar. Neither of them care much about the environment. I could share probably two-three dozen stories, of how in the last year alone they have done destruction to Mangroves and other protected areas. And all have been reported and the majority sleeps, even though floods have become a sort of daily occurrence, especially in north India, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh to be more precise, but who cares :(.

There is a famous/infamous quote of the Indian Prime Minister where he was asked by the public about Climate change, and he denied. He, in fact, shared that it is the Indian public which has changed and has become weaker and older hence they experience it. The head of the state is a denier, but political expediency has now changed a bit. Btw, he is the only PM (Prime Minister) of India who has not given a single press-conference in the last 7 years, while all other political leaders continue to give.

You can see the main opposition leader Rahul Gandhi fielding 100-200 press reporters, but whatever transpires doesn't get reported in the press, mostly because the press is pretty pliant to the ruling Govt.

Sorry for tanging off, but it is the way it is.
 
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N14AZ
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Nov 04, 2021 2:14 pm

pune wrote:
While the actual video is down or has been taken off, there is still the Guardian video which shows that dumping, although I am not sure if it reported that the wastewater was dumped in that place for 49 hrs. I have become deaf due to covid, and that video has no subtitles, so would have to learn from you or whoever cares to share what they reported on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTwjUh92j00

First of all sorry to hear about your problems due to Covid. The good news is the video you linked does not have any sound but has subtitles. So you didn’t miss anything…

Really not sure what this video footage shows. It doesn’t look like raw sewage to me. Someone in the comments section below the video says it’s a storm water overflow but I am not sure if he knows this for sure or if he just thinks it’s from a storm water overflow…

Anyhow, let’s hope they solve whatever problems they have. Great Britain is the cradle of modern wastewater treatment, which was developed after the „Great Stink“ event in London more than hundred years ago.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Nov 04, 2021 3:18 pm

Some overflow is not necessarily a problem. The old adage, The Solution to Pollution is Dilution is wrong, but not 100% wrong. It is a question of how many sigmas sewage needs to be treated. My suspicion is that in most cases three '9s' is enough. Corrections invited.
 
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readytotaxi
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Thu Nov 04, 2021 4:08 pm

N14AZ wrote:
pune wrote:
While the actual video is down or has been taken off, there is still the Guardian video which shows that dumping, although I am not sure if it reported that the wastewater was dumped in that place for 49 hrs. I have become deaf due to covid, and that video has no subtitles, so would have to learn from you or whoever cares to share what they reported on it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTwjUh92j00

First of all sorry to hear about your problems due to Covid. The good news is the video you linked does not have any sound but has subtitles. So you didn’t miss anything…

Really not sure what this video footage shows. It doesn’t look like raw sewage to me. Someone in the comments section below the video says it’s a storm water overflow but I am not sure if he knows this for sure or if he just thinks it’s from a storm water overflow…

Anyhow, let’s hope they solve whatever problems they have. Great Britain is the cradle of modern wastewater treatment, which was developed after the „Great Stink“ event in London more than hundred years ago.

yes indeed, the designer of that, Joseph Bazalgette, does not get the credit he deserves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Bazalgette
 
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Aesma
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Nov 05, 2021 9:06 am

frmrCapCadet wrote:
Some overflow is not necessarily a problem. The old adage, The Solution to Pollution is Dilution is wrong, but not 100% wrong. It is a question of how many sigmas sewage needs to be treated. My suspicion is that in most cases three '9s' is enough. Corrections invited.


But aren't the chemicals used to separate water from solid matter, allowing such "partially treated" water to overflow and not being too much of a problem, whereas here without the chemicals it's literally raw sewage that is overflowing ?
 
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N14AZ
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Nov 05, 2021 9:59 am

Aesma wrote:
frmrCapCadet wrote:
Some overflow is not necessarily a problem. The old adage, The Solution to Pollution is Dilution is wrong, but not 100% wrong. It is a question of how many sigmas sewage needs to be treated. My suspicion is that in most cases three '9s' is enough. Corrections invited.


But aren't the chemicals used to separate water from solid matter, allowing such "partially treated" water to overflow and not being too much of a problem, whereas here without the chemicals it's literally raw sewage that is overflowing ?

In a classic combined sewer system you collect sewage and - when it rains- storm water in one sewer. During dry weather conditions the sewage flows to the wastewater treatment plant without any overflow. When it starts to rain the water level in the sewer starts to rise and once the sewer is completely filled the combined / mixed water starts to overflow via dedicated storm water overflow chambers. So this water is not pre-treated. It’s just diluted. The overflow weir is usually equipped with a baffle wall to avoid that floating matters like oil or similar will be discharged. Some overflow weirs are equipped with fine screens to avoid that solids such as hygiene articles will be discharged.

In more advanced drainage systems there are storm water retention tanks to catch the first flush pollution and to transport it to the WWTP after the rain has stopped. In even more advanced systems you have even retention soil filters.
 
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WildcatYXU
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Wed Nov 10, 2021 12:25 am

N14AZ wrote:
I designed wastewater treatment plants for about 20 years.


Are you still doing it? I'm wondering if we are colleagues or competitors :)
 
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N14AZ
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Wed Nov 10, 2021 7:20 pm

WildcatYXU wrote:
N14AZ wrote:
I designed wastewater treatment plants for about 20 years.


Are you still doing it? I'm wondering if we are colleagues or competitors :)

No, I stopped designing WWTPs in 2012. Now I sometimes see the design prepared by others and torture them with some nasty comments…

But I really loved it. Sometimes I check google earth if „my“ WWTPs are still there. It’s somehow scary: you draw a line on a paper and now you can see this line on google earth :? As you know, you can do a lot of mistakes but I was lucky…

And I am sure we wouldn’t have been competitors but colleagues! :wave:
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:55 pm

sixty years ago I was the person charged with maintaining proper elevations on a major sewer line. The booklet from the surveyor had all the numbers wrong. But we got it fixed. Now they seem to be redoing some of the same street.
 
IFlyVeryLittle
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Fri Nov 12, 2021 8:25 pm

Because UK streets were out of the question.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:20 pm

Then what was the use of the privatization apart from profiteering. Guessing the same would happen to NHS in UK as that also is gonna be privatized.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-kqTMX5yso

https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-suppo ... -care-bill

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/b ... 210183.pdf
 
Newark727
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:51 pm

pune wrote:
Then what was the use of the privatization apart from profiteering.


May have answered your own question there.
 
pune
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Re: Can somebody tell me why sewage is being dumped in UK rivers ??

Mon Nov 22, 2021 10:56 pm

Yup, seems to be. Similar things have been happening in India as well :(

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