An overflow of sewage after heavy rains has forced the partial closure of Green Lane Recreation Ground in Kingston.

A section of the park was cordoned off to residents by water utility company Thames Water after heavy rainfall earlier in the week filled the sewer network in the area used by the company, causing sewage to spill out from a nearby manhole.

The Hogsmill River, which runs through the park, was swollen by the heavy rains earlier this week.

In a report published by the Comet on Thursday (September 26), South East Rivers Trust (SERT) and Thames Water confirmed that storm tanks near Ewell had also overflowed, causing sewage to discharge into the Hogsmill River South of Kingston.

The latest news shows that other areas through which the river flows have been polluted by sewage overspilling from a system that SERT Director Bella Davies told the Comet was "built on old designs and old values".

Responding to a request from the Comet, a spokesperson for Thames Water apologised for the situation and confirmed that sewage had spilled out from the sewer network into the park after the high amount of rainfall witnessed earlier in the week.

"We’ve had to close off a section of the recreation ground as, during heavy rain this week, our sewer network filled up and some sewage spilled out from a manhole.

"This means for the time being it’s unsafe for people to use that part of the rec while we thoroughly clean up.

"We’re really sorry that this happened and our priority is to keep people safe," the spokesperson said.

Thames Water added that the area currently closed might not be open for several weeks, as potentially dangerous bacteria released by the overflow was cleaned up.

"We expect to fully reopen the affected area in around a month. It needs to be sealed off for this length of time to allow any bacteria from the sewage to die off and no longer pose any health risk.

"In the meantime a team will be busy in the next few days cleaning up as much as they can so the area doesn’t look unsightly and people can continue to enjoy the rest of the recreation ground," the spokesperson said.

Kingston Council (RBK) confirmed these details and pointed out that most of the park, including the playground, remains open.

Unlike Thames Water, they said there was "no risk to the public": 

"A Thames Water manhole in Green Lane Recreation Ground began to overflow due to the heavy rainfall.

"The area was quickly cordoned off by Thames Water and the park and playground remained open, as it was contained to a small area and there was no risk to the public.

"The cordon is expected to remain in place for 30 days whilst repairs are carried out and the area will be monitored during this time," a spokesperson for RBK said.