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New reeds planned to clean up ‘harmful’ Muswell Hill brook

16:24 21 April 2012

Consultant ecologist Edward Milner at the polluted stream in Coldfall Woods. Picture: Dieter Perry

Consultant ecologist Edward Milner at the polluted stream in Coldfall Woods. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

A stinking stream that carries raw sewage through a park will have new reed beds planted in a fresh bid to decontaminate it.

The belching brook, which runs through Coldfall Wood in Muswell Hill, is polluted by waste from surrounding homes that had pipes misconnected by plumbers.

Fresh reeds will be planted by the Friends of Coldfall Wood to detoxify the stream. There have been complaints that the putrid water poses a health risk.

However, concerns have been raised that the rushes are being planted in the wrong place.

Edward Milner, 69, a consultant ecologist, said: “The stream is cloudy and really stinks, particularly in the hot weather.

“There are children who go to the woods and play nearby, and it is a concern because if they go into the stream it could be very harmful.

“It is absurd that money is being spent on reeds that don’t actually do the job they are designed to do.”

Thames Water found that about two dozen homes are feeding sewage into the open stream.

After a barrage of complaints, two reed beds were planted five years ago with the intention of being a cheap and effective way to filter the water.

Linda Alliston, chairman of the Friends of Coldfall Wood, said one of the reed beds has since “stopped working” but that “hopefully we will see an improvement when these works are finished”.

Mr Milner, who lives in Weston Park, Crouch End, says one of the pipes that are pumping in the contaminated water is below the lowest reed bed, and it remains uncleansed.

A Thames Water spokesman said it has told the homeowners who have the misconnected pipes what to do and “a number have made those changes”.

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