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A MANHOLE in a village near Kidlington has been spewing raw sewage for the past three weeks, according to residents.

And children who walk to school past the leak are having to spend the day in shoes coated with effluent.

Residents of Tackley say that during heavy rain, sewage starts pouring from drains.

Parish council chairman June Collier said: “Every time we have heavy rain the sewage pumping station can’t cope and we don’t know what to do.”

She said that residents believe their antiquated sewage pipes and pumping station cannot cope with an increased population and other changes over the years.

Mrs Collier said: “Children shouldn’t have to walk through sewage to get to school. We are at our wits ends.”

A parent with two children at Tackley Primary School who did not want to be named, said: “I know the county is flooded, but Tackley has suffered from neglect from Thames Water for the last 20 years.”

Thames Water spokeswoman Becky Trotman said the sewage problem had been caused by the heavy rain, but more investigation was needed to fix the problem.

She said: “Our sewer network has become inundated with floodwater when it is only meant to carry waste water from homes and businesses.

“When the system gets full, the diluted sewage can spill out from manholes.

“Our contractors did detect a blockage at the Tackley pumping station and removed this, but as the problem has continued we will need to investigate further.”

“We sympathise with everyone who is affected by this.”

She added: “With regards to points about the system not being sufficient to cope, it isn’t as straightforward as just building a bigger sewer.

“When we’re talking about floodwater, its almost a case of the bigger the sewer, the more water will go in.”

She said of the sewage: “As it is diluted, although it’s unsightly, it isn’t a risk to public health.”