Rain revives fears of sewage floods

VILLAGERS have been watching the recent heavy rainfall fearing they would again face the misery of sewage bubbling up from the drains.

People in Chilton, near Didcot, have complained about sewage covering The Lane, and Thames Water engineers last week tried to tackle the problem.

Although the sewage has not got into people’s homes, there has been repeated contamination on the lane, residents say.

Frank Dumbleton, 67, who lives in Main Street, Chilton, said residents have noticed a particular problem in recent weeks.

He said: “Sewage has been overflowing in The Lane. It has been cleared several times in the past two weeks, but the contamination keeps coming back.”

Mr Dumbleton, a Chilton parish councillor, said residents have made repeated calls to Thames Water since January 13.

He added: “Heavy sewage has been flowing from inspection chambers in The Lane.

“When I asked about contamination of the road surface in The Lane, Thames Water said they would get a clean-up team to attend.”

Mr Dumbleton added that the problem had also been reported to the Environment Agency.

He said on Thursday: “Unfortunately sewage is still coming out on the road surface where I walk my dog.

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“People in the village would like this to be sorted out.”

Thames Water spokesman Craig Rance said: “While our sewer network in Chilton is working as it should, it is struggling with the sheer volume of water going through it after England’s wettest year on record.

“Heavy rainfall has overwhelmed rivers and streams, and in turn our sewerage system.

“The ground is already sodden, so water is running across the surface and into our sewers, which are designed to take wastewater from homes and businesses, not flood water too.

“We have been using tankers to take away sewage while focusing our efforts to help protect people from internal flooding.”

Stewart Lilly, county councillor for Sutton Courtenay and Harwell division, which includes Chilton, said: “Frank contacted me about this and I then rang Thames Water to get them to deal with this as soon as they could.

“Thames Water are under a lot of pressure because it appears the heavy rain has been making the sewerage system overflow.

“There have been similar situations throughout the county.

“This may not have been 100 per cent resolved in Chilton but at least Thames Water engineers are working on this.

“The Lane is not a main street, but it’s still ghastly to have sewage coming up onto the lane.”

In December, residents in Oxford said at least 20 homes in the city were blighted by sewage because of the floods.

People living in Western Road, South Oxford, Earl Street off Botley Road and South Hinksey blamed Thames Water for the problem, claiming not enough was being done to maintain the city’s sewers properly.

Thames Water denies maintenance failures and said the volume of heavy rain, combined with one of the wettest summers on record, was the cause.

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