The Revivel Association advises pets and children to stay away from the Ivel Springs Nature Reserve.
Baldock residents were shocked to see bright blue discharge spilling onto a footpath on August 17th.
This was the result of a burst sewer pipe on Norton Road in Baldock, and pets and children have been advised to avoid the Ivel Springs Nature Reserve for the next couple of weeks.
Anglian Water, who manages dirty water in the area, confirmed that an object had caused the pipe to rupture, rather than “any specific failure of the pipe”.
A spokesperson from the company explained that “the discharge was blue briefly due to dye coming through from a local printing company”.
Sharon Moat, a member of the Rivivel Association, said that the spillage was diverted away into onsite tanks by Anglian Water on Tuesday night.
There was a moorhen stuck in a tank that was about to have been filled up with sewage, however, the tankering team managed to get the bird out.
Despite, Anglian Water’s efficient clear-up, the Rivivel Association is still concerned by the burst pipe and what this means for the historic market town.
Sharon said that the River Ivel is a rare chalk stream, so it is fed from groundwater, which is like an underground lake called an aquifer. It is the town’s local source of drinking water.
“We are concerned that the groundwater may be contaminated if the sewage leaches down through the soil and will at some point reach the groundwater,” she said.
A spokesperson from Anglian Water told HertsLive that “the discharge won’t have gone into the aquifer” and “nothing was discharged into the River Ivel”.
But the River Association are also worried that the pipe is “not fit for purpose”, especially as 3,298 more homes are planned to be constructed in and around Baldock by 2031 as part of North Herts District Council’s Local Plan.
On April 27, 2021, the main sewerage pipe in the town burst again, but much more severely. The Environment Agency categorised the incident as a category 2 groundwater incident, the second most serious level.
Ian Hall of Revivel said: “A very large quantity of untreated sewage spilt into the nature reserve leaving sewage debris on the surface which was never cleared up and resulted in significant groundwater pollution.
“Nobody seems too bothered about finding out what damage was done to the aquifer.”
Ian added: “The second incident was caused by another burst sewer either because the mend they did last time failed or because the pipe burst in a place very close to the first.”
Anglian Water responded: “When the sewer burst in April 2021, we worked 24 hours a day tankering the site and prevented any discharge into the River Ivel.
“There was a discharge onto the land which was fully cleared up by our contractors, including removal of the top layer of soil to ensure all debris was cleared from the site.