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Flood of complaints as sewage pipes overflow
12:00pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in Andover
VILLAGERS in East Cholderton and Amport are swamped in overflowing sewage and are blaming Southern Water for the problem.
The angry residents have pointed the finger at the water company, saying that pumping water away from the overwhelmed drains and pumping station is not working. They have asked for the leaks to be permanently fixed instead.
Southern Water has blamed unusually high rainfall and has said that the tankers will carry on pumping water away from the drains.
Margaret Ruffell, who lives in the village, can not use three quarters of an acre of her fields as she claims it has been turned into a bog by Southern Water’s leaking pumping station.
She said: “It’s funny but I thought I owned a nice field with a brook running through it adjacent to my house, but this doesn’t seem to be the case as for the last 12 years it is regularly flooded without my permission by my neighbour, Southern Water.
“This problem was supposed to be resolved. The road was to be closed, dug up and the pipes fixed. I have correspondence going back several years assuring me that the repairs to mains and private drains would be done.
“I know you are going to say that 2012 was the wettest on record, but over the past several years Southern Water has allowed effluent to flood into my field. In the summer when it is dry the problem should be addressed.”
Mrs Ruffell, who has owned the fields for 20 years, can not put her horses and pony into the field to graze as one of her animals’ wounds has become infected in the past.
She added: “The costs of those lorries 24 hours a day must be astronomical – why don’t they use the money in the summer to fix the problem?”
A Southern Water spokesman said: “Our tankers in East Cholderton are pumping away groundwater that is overwhelming sewers in the area.
“The localised flooding in the village has been caused by the heavy rainfall and subsequent high groundwater levels throughout the past year – which was the wettest on record in England.
“The tankers help reduce the amount of water flowing to our pumping station in the area by taking it away for treatment, lowering the floodwaters.
“We will contact Mrs Ruffell to see what else can be done to minimise the disruption to her.”
Further down the road, Amport Parish Council has erected a sign warning villagers about the water flooding across the road, which it says is contaminated.
Ian Morrison, chairman of the parish council, said: “We were concerned about the children walking to school and playing with the water, which bubbles up from the road and it looks like it’s a nice thing for them to play around with but of course it isn’t.”
Amport resident TomDavis, who is director of the Test and Itchen Association, is to meet with the Environment Agency about the flooding.
He said: “What’s happening in Amport is that clearly the pumping into the tankers is not sufficient as the flooding is continuing.
Also, for several weeks now, down where the sewer passes through Amport village it has been leaking out through a leak in the pipe into the road.”
A Test Valley Borough Council spokesman said: “Test Valley Borough Council has no direct involvement in the sewage problems at Amport but has been talking to Southern Water.
“The council is able to provide environmental health advice on 01264 368000.”