When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
7:00am Sunday 3rd March 2013 in Andover
ST MARY Bourne residents packed their village centre on Tuesday to question representatives from local authorities, the Environment Agency and Southern Water about the longstanding sewage problems.
Issues raised included the environmental impact of pumping into the Bourne Rivulet and bags of human excreta which have been left around the village.
Tankers have been used since September to remove sewage from the system to provide temporary relief as high ground water caused toilets to stop working and raw sewage to bubble up through manhole covers.
Martin Bank, Southern Water’s network quality performance manager said: “St Mary Bourne has had a history for some time because the sewage system cannot cope with the flow.
“What we have at the moment is much more flow because of the groundwater trying to get through.
“I would like to apologise for any inconvenience that our tankers and our other activities have caused which may have impacted on your community. It is not out of choice that we have a problem like this but we are trying to address it.
“We need to take action, never say never is relevant to sewage systems because you can never design something that will protect you infinitely.
“We are all working together and we need all the information we can get from the public as well to allow us to paint as comprehensive a picture as we can.”
The impact of pumping sewage into the Bourne Rivulet was played down by the Environmental Agency who also assured residents that St Mary Bourne is a top priority.
Keith Broomfield, from the Environmental Agency said: “A lot of groundwater is infiltrating the system and diluting the effluent before pumping into the Bourne and basically there is no increase in the bacteria levels in the Bourne itself.
“St Mary Bourne is at the top of my list in the South Downs area and we are taking it forward. I won’t be signing this off until we are satisfied, it is important we get it right.”
The packed meeting attracted 100 residents who made their feelings known.
One resident said: “We want a solution invested in St Mary Bourne once and for all, we want the message to get across, fix it once and for all and spend money to sort it, it isn’t impossible and this is the 21st century!”