Gardens flooded with raw sewage

Swindon Advertiser: Jackie Anderson in her Bishopstone garden Jackie Anderson in her Bishopstone garden

LOW-lying houses in Bishopstone have had raw sewage gushing into their back gardens as the pressure on the drainage system reaches critical levels during the floods.

The problem has been recurring for around a decade, after a new pumping station was built just a stone’s throw from the estate.

Jackie Anderson, 67, of The Forty, said she has had faecal matter pouring into her garden for days, just months after a similar incident in November.

“The drainage system cannot cope with the volume of water coming through it,” she said.

“I moved into the house in 2004, almost exactly 10 years ago. I had just moved in when we had the first problem, and I thought perhaps the sewers needed cleaning or unblocking. Every time someone came out they said it wasn’t a blockage.”

Jackie said she had seen 22 serious sewage leaks in 10 years.

“In 2006 there was a huge leak at the back of the house, but when they came round to do repairs they said there was no blockage found,” she said. “In September of the same year there was another leakage and every time they said they would log it for the insurers.

“After the next really major one in 2008 I wrote to MPs, and Thames Water said the sewer network needed updating.

“I had written to all sorts of people and someone from Thames Water came round apologising.

“There are several things causing this. Because it is built on a hill and I live at the bottom, it all flows down to us. Others around here have problems with sewage coming up through their plumbing. There used to be an old sewage works towards Wanborough, but they replaced that with a pumping station just yards from my gate.”

“At the back of my house we have got a manhole cover which comes out of two small drains on my patio. It just lifts the drains off and floods the whole place out. It gushes off the patio, over my lawn and into the stream.”

Jackie said she should not be forced out of her house but was reaching the end of her tether.

“I have lived in Swindon for 30 years, and when my father died in 2003 I got this bungalow and lived here with my mother who was in her 90s,” she said.

“I do not think I could afford to move, and why should I? I am concerned about the health risks. I have got three grandchildren under six who come here regularly.”

A spokesman for Thames Water said: “We know many of our customers are having a difficult time dealing with flooding. We’re under enormous strain too, with a network that’s only supposed to take wastewater being inundated with floodwater, we’re working extremely hard to manage sewer levels. “Teams are working around the clock, our resources are stretched and we’re on constant high alert, but we’re doing our best in difficult circumstances.”

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