The original village website for Aldbourne in Wiltshire, UK

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Springs, sewage & power cuts update

Update 12 – Phew! Good news finally, see here for details.

Update 11 – The Gazette & Herald have published an article about the recent sewage meeting in the village. Click here to view the article on their website.

Update 10 – Please see the download link below for the official notes from the Thames Water public meeting, held on Monday 4th March 2013. For additional comments see this thread on the forum.

Update 9 – Questions for the public meeting, submitted as of the 18th February, can be read in the leaflet available for download from the diary item for that meeting. These questions have been provided to the agencies so they have a chance to consider their answers before the event. You can still ask additional questions at the meeting.

Update 8 – There will be a public meeting about the sewage & flooding problem in Aldbourne on Monday 4th March at 7:00pm in the Memorial Hall. Please see this diary article for details.

Update 7 – Please see the Parish Council section of the forum for recent information from Thames Water about sewage, and also a media release regarding flooding.

Any reports we have received about sewage spillage and pollution have been forwarded to Thames Water, as well as Wiltshire Council (Environmental Health) and the Parish Council.

During the recent cold snap the water levels have appeared to drop and the sewage problem has been reduced. Now the snow is thawing, and heavy rain is forecast, which means a rise in the water levels is likely, which will probably impact on the sewage system again.

Please continue to notify us of any incidents of sewage in the road or watercourse, and, as before, if you are able to record them on a camera or mobile phone please do. We will continue to pass on any evidence submitted.

Update 6 – The latest information we have is that the outflow of sewage and water from the Post Office manhole has been stopped, and the manhole sealed. It’s unclear whether this is a temporary solution, but residents are sure to be pleased with the current reduction in sewage spillage in the Square.

Elsewhere the representative from Thames Water met with local Wiltshire councillor Chris Humphries in Lottage Road to discuss the situation there. We will post more news when we have it.

Update 5 – We have been contacted by a representative from Thames Water, Huw Thomas, please see his message in the forum. If you have any questions for him please post them there, or contact us and we can post them ourselves.

We have had many reports from residents that sewage is indeed getting into the winterbourne. We will pass these messages on to Thames Water, Wiltshire Council (Environmental Health) and the Parish Council. Please continue to notify us of such incidents, and if you are able to record them on a camera or mobile phone we can pass that evidence on too.

Please be aware that the floodwaters in Lottage Road are now polluted with sewage, and take the necessary precautions when passing through them. Some vehicles are still passing through these areas at excessive speeds, which has resulted in sewage being sprayed onto cars, walls and even front doors. The potholes are getting deeper daily, and together with the sewage problem we would recommend all drivers exercise extreme caution whilst passing through this area.

Update 4 – Further news and clarifications:

We have received confirmation that at this point no fine has been issued against Thames Water by the Environment Agency. Many people in the village are under the impression that effluent has worked its way into the watercourse. If anyone has any evidence that this is the case please could they contact us and we will forward it on.

The tankers outside the libary are currently on a pumping cycle that runs from approximately 7am to midnight. This is a (very slight) improvement for residents of that part of the square. However, the decision to install traffic lights at 1.00am in the morning was not appreciated!

The installation of traffic lights has meant that some people are using the small cut through road along from the library as a rat-run. Residents, visitors to the library and other pedestrians would greatly appreciate more consideration from drivers in this area.

Thames Water have been asked why the pumping is not rotating around different sites in the village. Despite promising a reply, none has yet been received.

Several sources have confirmed that the main area of ingress for the spring water into the sewage system is through the junctions with the ‘laterals’, ie the pipes that run from the main sewer to each dwelling.

As mentioned in a previous post on the forum, the power was off again today in the same area as five days ago. The reason – the mobile generator had run out of diesel. Once refilled an airlock then had to be cleared, and after that, the engineers who were on site had to wait for a more senior engineer to arrive to start the generator back up. All told, the electricity was off for at least four hours.

Update 3 – Click this link for a news story on the BBC Wiltshire site. The Gazette & Herald also ran a piece this week about the closure of the Post Office for a day due to the sewage. Once it’s posted to their website we’ll publish the link here.

Update 2 – Please be aware that the flooding on Lottage Road has created at least one deep pothole on the road surface that’s liable to cause damage to cars and people alike. Please be extra careful whilst crossing the flooded areas. Elsewhere, the outflow of sewage near the Post Office has meant that St. Michael’s School has requested all pupils to travel to school in a spare set of boots or shoes. These can then be changed before they enter the school building.

Update 1 – Please take care whilst travelling down Lottage Road. Due to the continuing heavy rainfall the road is underwater in several places. Residents and pedestrians would certainly appreciate it if motorists travelled as slowly as possible to reduce the amount of spray, as the wave caused by cars in this part is threatening to lap against the front doors of the cottages which directly front the street. Please note that sandbags (or gel bags) may be provided on request (see December Parish Council minutes).

There has been a much activity in the centre of the village over the last few weeks, involving Thames Water tankers and other contractor vehicles, with works (and noise) continuing on a 24 hour cycle. Vehicles have been parked overnight in the Square, by the Co-op, and in various locations on South Street.

Our understanding is that the extremely high water table levels have triggered problems with the sewage, which has had to be manually pumped out, and also caused electricity to be cut off to Glebe Close. The latter issue we hear has been resolved.

Searches on the Thames Water site and phone calls have so far failed to yield a definitive answer to enquiries about what the longer term plan is. It may not be possible to be certain because forces of nature are involved and these are proving to be even more unpredictable than usual in recent times.

The cause of the problem is, as before, the increased pressure due to the raised height of the water table forcing excess water into the sewers. The pumping reduces the risk of the dilute sewage overflowing in The Square and elsewhere, as it did before. If it did overflow and pollute the Bourne then Thames Water would be facing heavy fines from the Environment Agency.

We understand that various sewage blockages are still being worked on. Most reports say that they will be cleared by the end of the week. Other, more alarming reports suggest the vehicles will be in situ till the water levels drop, which could be as late as April 2013.

If anyone has any further information please post it here, or contact us so we can circulate the news more widely.

Many thanks!

Posted by: DW / RB on 3rd April 2013