ENVIRONMENT Agency has said it is aware of Southern Water’s plan to pump wastewater to River Test and it will closely monitor the situation.

This comes as residents of Chilbolton Common Cow near Stockbridge were informed that Southern Water has temporarily stopped its plan to pump large quantities of water into the River Test.

As previously reported, Southern Water has set up a temporary pump to flush out water to the River Test at Chilbolton Cow Common, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The residents in the area were initially informed that the pumping would start on Thursday, January 25.

READ MORE: Residents told water company has postponed pumping of wastewater into River Test

However, they have were informed later Southern Water has temporarily postponed its plan to start pumping.

Commenting on the water company’s plan to pump water to the river, an Environment Agency spokesperson said it takes all cases of over pumping extremely seriously.

The spokesperson said: “We are aware that Southern Water will start over pumping at Chilbolton and they must follow their Infiltration Reduction Plan, which was developed in response to incidents like this. We take all cases of over pumping extremely seriously, and any impacts on local watercourses are being closely monitored. If they do not follow the plan, we will investigate this fully.”

The residents have been rallying against this move with concerns over ecology.

A petition created on Change.org to stop Southern Water from pumping wastewater to the river has so far received more than 1,000 signatures in just more than 24 hours.

SEE ALSO: Petition calls to stop waste disposal in River Test

However, a Southern Water spokesperson said the geology of the Chilbolton area is highly vulnerable and the pumping plan will be implemented if water and sewage start entering people’s homes.

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “As part of an emergency plan to prevent flooding, we are preparing overland pipes to remove groundwater and prevent it causing internal flooding of homes, schools and businesses. The plan will only be implemented if exceptionally high levels of groundwater overload the sewage system, causing water and sewage to enter people’s homes.

“The geology of the Chilbolton area is highly vulnerable. The plan – drawn up with co-operation from the Environment Agency – may see us pump ground water out of the sewer and drainage network and into nearby watercourses as a last resort. An impact assessment is currently being carried out and samples from the network and from the area where releases may be made, are being collected for analysis.”