RESIDENTS in Sherfield on Loddon are still facing drainage issues, months after blockages forced sewage up onto residents' driveways and around their properties.

As previously reported, a number of residents living in Northfield Road have experienced problems with foul drainage, with the wastewater not draining away to the local sewage works, located between Sherfield on Loddon and Bramley.

In October last year, sewage began coming out of several manhole covers, which subsequently pooled over driveways, down the sides of homes and into gardens.

Thames Water investigated the issue, but by the time it had reviewed the problem, Storm Ciaran had hit, with the company citing exceptional weather as a reason for the drainage issues.

Thames Water lorries have since regularly been pumping out and taking away the sewage.

READ MORE: Residents in Sherfield on Loddon fume after drainage issuesBasingstoke Gazette: Foul Water drainage issues at Northfield Road, Sherfield on LoddonOne of the homes affected belongs to Tom and Louise Penn, who have had drainage issues for almost a year. 

The couple and their neighbours recently met with MP Ranil Jayawardena, borough councillor Nick Robinson and several parish councillors to highlight the issues residents in the village have been facing.

Louise said that they had not been given a timeline or updates as to when the problem was going to be rectified, adding that the issue was thought to be with the capacity at the sewage treatment works.

Thames Water has since told the Gazette that plans to improve the Sherfield on Loddon sewage treatment works will take place in 2027. 

Mr Jayawardena said: “I met Mr and Mrs Penn at their home, with their neighbours, to agree a plan of action. I have long been clear that the water companies need to do more across the country, because this simply should not be happening. 

“As a result, we’ve now seen the sewers cleaned and intake capacity at the sewage works increase by 51 per cent. This should help stop this happening again, but I am determined that Thames Water go further.

"That’s why I am continuing to push them for a camera survey to see where any repairs are needed – and to install a system that will alert them if any problems arise in future – as quickly as possible.

“It is good that there is now a clear plan to upgrade the sewage treatment works in Sherfield too, along with others across North East Hampshire, which I am determined to see delivered.”

Residents understand that the pipe work is made of pitch fibre, a pipe developed in the 1940s made from wood cellulose impregnated with coal tar with asbestos added to strengthen the material. 

However, with the life expectancy of pitch fibre drainage being only 40 years old, the pipes are subsequently not fit for purpose, meaning they are at risk of collapse.

Following heavy rain on Sunday, January 7, one resident noted that in the field which backs on the Sherfield on Loddon sewage treatment works, surface water from the rain had flooded into drains and into the network, causing the drainage network and inspection chambers to fill.

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Basingstoke Gazette: Lifted manhole covers

A Thames Water spokesperson said: "We are sorry to residents on Northfield Road who have experienced flooding following the recent heavy rainfall.

“Our investigations have found the recent heavy rainfall, along with high groundwater levels and river flooding, caused our local sewer system to overload resulting in heavily diluted wastewater to escape from nearby manholes. Clean ups of the affected areas are taking place as water levels have receded.

"We recognise how difficult this can be for residents and appreciate their patience while our teams work to resolve the issue. Since October 2023 our engineers have been carrying out infiltration investigations in the vicinity of Northfield Road, to better understand the nature of flooding to our systems in this area. This has included modifications to the nearby pumping station to increase its capacity and thorough inspections of the sewers to identify any obstructions or maintenance requirements.

“We have also published plans to upgrade over 250 of our sewage treatment works (STW) and sewers, including Sherfield on Loddon STW. This will improve the sites ability to treat the high volumes of incoming sewage and reduce the need for overflows during wet weather and is expected to be completed in 2027."