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Tadey sewage problems
HEAVY rainfall caused misery for some Tadley residents who were left fuming after their homes were flooded with sewage.
Roads, paths and gardens were flooded with rainwater, near the Bishopswood Stream, as drainage systems were unable to cope with the downpour.
Karen Brookshaw was meant to be resting after an operation, but instead was mopping up sewage from her kitchen floor.
The 49-year-old, of Swains Road, whose husband was working away, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. It’s in the shower, the toilet, the porch, everywhere.”
Her neighbour Junita Hutchinson had positioned bowls on the floor inside her home to catch drips leaking from the ceiling.
The 85-year-old widow said: “Sewage is coming out of the drains. We have had this problem before but this time it’s really bad.”
George Cripps, 70, of Swains Road, said his daughter Sharon Butler, who lives in nearby Swains Close, had her garage flooded by sewage.
He added: “The rain gets in the system and it can’t cope. My daughter rang me at lunchtime to tell me that water was coming up into the garage.”
His neighbour Keith Searle, 76, added: “This is why we have concerns about new houses being built. The infrastructure can’t cope at the moment.”
Lynn Stringer, from the Elmhurst estate, blamed the Environment Agency for not adequately clearing the stream of debris, foliage and weeds.
The stream is an artificial channel that runs through land by Guttridge Lane, Barlows Road and through the Elmhurst estate, and has been the responsibility of the Environment Agency since 2006.
Mrs Stringer, 55, rushed home when a neighbour called her, worried about the water level.
She said: “The water had subsided by the time I got home, but the paths and parking areas on the estate were still extremely flooded.
“My front garden had water pouring through it from Swains Road where the drains were still bubbling and the water by my access gate on to Elmhurst was at least three to four inches deep. This time the estate has escaped flooding. Will we be so lucky next time?”
The administration worker has lived on the estate since 1990, and said when Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was responsible for the stream, it was cleared at least two or three times a year. But since the Environment Agency became responsible, she said clearing it had become “a joke”.
Peter Walker, 48, also from Elmhurst, said: “The Environment Agency use contractors once a year to clear the weeds. It should be cleared out at least twice a year in the spring and autumn.”
Neighbour Hazel Wheeler, 50, who works at Basingstoke hospital, said: “It makes me so cross. We pay our rates for Basingstoke and Deane, plus the rates for Tadley, and we are just not getting value for money.”
Tony Watkins, operations delivery technical specialist at the Environment Agency, said: “Our operation delivery team responded immediately to Thursday’s forecast of heavy rain.
“Extra resources were sent to the Bishopswood Stream at Tadley and our staff worked hard to keep the stream clear, with the water controlled and contained within its banks.”
Simon Evans, media relations manager for Thames Water, said: “A lot of rain fell in a short space of time across all the RG postal areas, putting added pressure on our sewer network and in some cases causing drains to surcharge.
“We are really sorry to residents who had storm sewage flood their properties.
“To ensure the sewers run as smoothly as possible, we would always ask people to ‘bin it – don’t block it’, putting only human waste and loo roll down drains and making sure food fat, wet wipes and other non-degradable items all go in the bin.”
On Friday and over the weekend, Thames Water staff planned to carry out clean-up operations in the area.