FLUSHING wet wipes down the toilet nearly led to a family home in Blackbird Leys being flooded by raw sewage.

Waste from an overflowing manhole cover in Vetch Place began seeping out on Friday evening.

Thames Water, which is responsible for the sewer that flooded, said that a build-up of wet wipes flushed away by neighbours was the cause.

Now a resident affected by the issue wants the utility company to regularly check the pipes for potential blockages.

Our top stories

David Pritchard, who works at the Mini plant in Cowley, noticed the issue at 7.30pm and immediately phoned Thames Water.

Oxford Mail:

David Pritchard in the garden of his Blackbird Leys home which was flooded by raw sewage.

The father-of-one said: “They said that they would respond later on but by then there was severe overflowing. It started going into my garden and got all the way up to my house.”

It was not until Saturday afternoon that Thames Water sent engineers out. Mr Pritchard, 52, said: “I felt helpless and stranded.

“I couldn’t let my dog in the garden. It was horrible seeing all the sewage in.”

When engineers inspected the sewer they found that wet wipes were the cause of the blockage.

Company spokeswoman Sarah Sharpe said: “Wet wipes, while marketed as flushable don’t actually break down inside a sewer, and can build up to block the pipe.

“This then causes the waste water to back up along the pipe and out at the next exit point, unfortunately in this case the manhole in Mr Pritchard’s garden.

“This isn’t to say the problem is due to the Pritchards, or even the people in their street, but there are homes in the area putting things they shouldn’t down into their sewers, and because of the way the sewer system flows, it unfortunately ends up in Vetch Place.”

Thames Water has now sent out leaflets in the area telling people not to flush wet wipes down their toilet.

Miss Sharpe added: “We would urge people to put wipes in the bin to avoid causing flooding to their neighbours.”

But Mr Pritchard said: “I think that Thames Water need to inspect the pipes more often to stop this sort of thing from happening again.”