Bernard Hall, Cuddington
By Haddenham Webteam - 15th September 2016 11:00am
This week saw a large drilling machine arrive on the Haddenham allotments.
Preparatory testing for a potential fracking site?
No, the equipment represents the start of a long-awaited project that is likely to win approval from a far greater number of Haddenham residents than fracking might — namely, drilling a borehole to provide the allotments with a natural source of water.
At this stage it is unknown whether a suitable source of water will be found. However, a drill bit will be driven many metres down to reach the natural water table.
If successful, a particularly 'green' installation will then be built. A support structure will be constructed over the borehole to carry a large, elevated water tank. Water will be pumped up by means of a submersible pump powered by solar panels, and stored in the raised tank.
The elevation will provide the head of water that will enable existing pipes on the allotment site to distribute water to the numerous troughs.
The borehole will serve to replace or largely reduce the dependence of allotment holders on mains water.
The project has the support of the parish council, with particular assistance from Alison Watt and John Wheeler. Chris Wylam has also done a lot of the work behind the scenes. Onsite, the project is being overseen by allotment holder, Tony Soper.
We will keep residents informed of progress with this ecologically sound undertaking.
Some critical comments have been posted in the Share & Chat section.
Tony Soper is an allotment holder who is acting in a voluntary capacity as the on-site project supervisor. He has offered the following observations in response:
I was asked three years ago by Haddenham Allotments to arrange for a borehole to replace the use of mains water for environmental reasons and also to reduce the costs over a period of time.
I understand that this project had been talked about for some time prior to this and I have not heard of any negative comments, although I accept there may have been comments sent directly to the Haddenham Parish Council.
I, personally did not think the project would get off the ground due to the cost, but as said, if it is a success over time it should be a good investment.
I can not comment on the water supply to our local ponds, but if there was a major problem with the supply to our ponds our borehole supply can be disconnected and reconnected to the mains water supply for a period of time. The borehole supply and mains water supply are not allowed a be connected together so they are two separate sources of water.
Haddenham Allotments during this period has been keeping allotment holders up-to date with emails and at their general meetings saying that a borehole was being planned.
Also, the Haddenham Parish Council was fully aware.
Many plot holders have come up and said the borehole is a very good idea and no one has had a negative comment (to my knowledge) until it was on the web. Constructive comment are good and there is much to do before the water is switched on.
My main concern is the sludge spreading over an allotment holders plot as I did not foresee this. I was told when they started drilling water, 220 litres, would be running downhill but this would soak away quickly. I never once imagined that it would be a liquid sludge coming out of the ground and maybe I should have known this, so I can only apologise to the plot holder.
I have been trying to stop the sludge spreading around the plants with a shovel but that was a obviously a non-starter.
I do not see a problem with the drilling company other than if I would have known earlier I would have built a bund wall to keep the sludge on the grass. Easy to look back!
We understand that the sludge has now been cleaned up, to the satisfaction of the allotment holder in question.