FOR the second year running, villagers living near Didcot are facing a walk through flood water filled with sewage.

As a result of the recent heavy rainfall, sewage in Chilton has been bubbling up from the drains.

Although the sewage has not got into people’s homes, The Lane has been contaminated, residents say.

Frank Dumbleton, 68, who lives in Main Street, said he was disappointed with the response of Thames Water so far, after he reported sewage was seeping from the manhole cover in The Lane.

He said: “I was told that the pumping station in Dene Hollow is working properly and just cannot cope with the level of ground water getting into the system.

“As far as I know Thames Water doesn’t intend to send in tankers to relieve the pumping station. We will just have to live with sewage in The Lane until the ground water subsides – probably in April.

“I pointed out that The Lane is a public footpath and the alternative route is Church Hill, which is narrow, on a bend and has no pavement, so pedestrians have to walk in the road.”

Mr Dumbleton, a Chilton parish councillor, has also reported the problem to Wantage and Didcot MP Ed Vaizey.

Lynda Atkins, a spokesman for the MP, said Mr Vaizey would raise the issue with Thames Water.

When the problem occurred last year Thames Water brought in tankers to remove sewage.

Thames Water spokesman Stuart White said: “This is a problem not just for Chilton – it’s happening across the region following the wettest January on record and we are prioritising where we can.”

The firm has now issued a statement to alert residents that exceptionally high groundwater levels were causing flooding problems.

It said: “In some places in the Thames Valley ground water levels are higher than the sewer pipes, and the water is starting to force its way into the sewer network.

“The sewer system is designed to take only wastewater from homes and businesses, and the influx of ground water, combined with spring and river water entering the pipes, is putting the network under enormous strain and placing customers at risk of sewer flooding.

“The company is monitoring sewers in vulnerable areas and sending out a ‘flood bus’ to affected locations to talk to residents.

“The company is also on standby to use tanker lorries to suck out excess flows to prevent nearby homes and businesses flooding.”

Anthony Crawford, head of waste networks at Thames Water, said: “Ground water levels are rising, and as the extra water seeps into our sewer network it could lead to sewer flooding.”