A large sewage pollution of the Ivel Springs occurred at the Ivel Springs nature reserve on 27th April 2021 when a pipe transferring sewage from Baldock to Letchworth treatment works burst. A large volume of raw sewage flowed down local roads and entered ditches before eventually disappearing into the ground just above the source of the River Ivel. It is only by good fortune that the river was not directly polluted.
Members of RevIvel reported this issue to both the Environment Agency and Anglian Water. The sewage discharge lasted for over 12 hours with large volumes being discharged to ground where it has polluted groundwater. Anglian Water eventually attended and managed to reduce the discharge by tankering sewage away before mending the pipe, but the situation was made worse by their sluggish initial response.
The Environment Agency subsequently classed this as a category 2 groundwater incident (the second most serious category) but very little effort initially went in to assessing where the untreated sewage went and what its likely impacts were. Only after pressure from RevIvel was any groundwater sampling done and the results of this have yet to pick up contamination. This incident still has the capacity to pollute the River Ivel or the springs that feed it so if you ever suspect pollution is occurring please do not hesitate to report it to the Environment Agency via their hotline number 0800 807060.