And so it begins: HS2 Contaminating the Chiltern Aquifer

Yesterday, the River Chess Association very issued this appeal to their supporters on their Facebook page:

Please take some time to contact the Environment Agency about the pollution of the Misbourne and Shardeloes Lake. The Hot line is 0800807060. The message should be “I am aware that Shardeloes Lake near Amersham has changed colour and is now milky white. I suspect it has resulted from drilling activity carried our by HS2 as they investigate the geology prior to starting tunnelling work.”

Yes, that’s right after years and years and years of professionals, organisations and members of the public banging their heads against a brick wall and trying to point out that the Chiltern Aquifer is a globally unique chalk lattice structure that only a moron would drill through let alone tunnel through, HS2 Ltd have managed to pollute Shardeloes Lake, just by test drilling a few boreholes. The River Chess Association explain further….

“We got a call this morning from a land owner in the Misbourne Valley complaining about the colour of the water in Shardlowes Lake. We went to visit and took a boat out to investigate, to start with all was well, the water was clear until we got to the far end. Here the water went from clear to milky white. It has been reported to the Environment Agency on their Hotline 0800807060. Co-incidentally this is no more than 200m from a recent @HS2 drilling site. So our guess is that the disruption by the drilling activity has caused chalk fines to get into the aquifer and end up polluting the lake. The lake is fed by springs and the Misbourne river. We checked the incoming water from the river, that was clear so the pollution was coming from the springs. The polluted area covered a large expanse of the lake. In our view this is not an agal issue, until proved otherwise we believe this is a direct result of HS2 drilling activity. A water sample was taken. If this can happen when they drill a small well imagine what it is going to be like when they stick two large tunnels under the lake.” 

The River Chess Association have made clear their concerns for a number of years and HS2 Ltd even admitted in 2017 that they do not understand how the aquifer works. Back then Paul Jennings told BBC 3CR:

“What we are worried about is that they are going to start the drilling, they’re going to put these boreholes in there, and then they’re going to find out the problems”

In the same piece, HS2 Ltd environmental water specialist Simon Dale-Lace categorically said “Absolutely not!” when presenter Andy Collins specifically asked him “So we won’t be having a conversation in a year, two years, three years about how  there’s flooding or the water’s stopped, or why there’s pollution there? We won’t be having that conversation?”

Oh dear.

To complete the whole “I’m not sure ‘I told you so’ cuts it” vibe, here’s the video from Day 27 of walking the route of HS2 in September last year at what was then a very unmilky looking Shardeloes Lake, where Joe Rukin said among other things that:” People are actually worried that the ground surveys, the test drilling itself could knacker up the water supply and the aquifer.”

Oh dear. Again.

(The video above plays from the 9.21 mark. To play from the start, click here)

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