‘We’re not mucking about over sewage’
Pete Killick with the bag of waste from the overflowing drain near his house which he took to this week’s town council meeting
FRUSTRATED residents took a bag of human excrement to Witney’s mayor making ceremony to demonstrate to those attending just how bad their sewage problem is.
Waste gushes out of two drains near Burwell Hall, in Thorney Leys, and runs past a children’s play area when it rains.
Residents say it is dangerous and their dogs have become ill after wading through the filth.
Thames Water and the Environment Agency are investigating the source of the problem and suspect it is caused by a misconnected pipe at a nearby property.
But residents attempted to force action on the issue by taking a bag of the muck along to Thursday’s Witney Town Council meeting.
Unfortunately, public participation was not allowed at the mayor-making ceremony.
Thorney Leys resident Pete Killick, 63, said: “I wanted to ask for their help to get influence in the right area and get the problem solved.
“When it floods it is a disgusting smell, it is unsightly and I think it is a health hazard for the young children on the playground. There is currently human waste mixed with lumps of hard fat on the path and surrounding area.”
Residents claim Thames Water was informed about the problem around two years ago and that it has got worse with the recent wet weather.
Mr Killick’s wife, Mary Killick, 61, said: “It is definitely a public health issue. Last summer we had to shut the windows because the smell was just grotesque. The smell just hits you like a wall.”
Burwell Drive resident Lyn Jones said: “It is very dangerous because it is raw sewage coming out of there. My dog has been poorly for two days because we walked through it on Tuesday not knowing it was sewage and she licked her paws before I could wash her down.
“I spoke to another resident and her dog ate some on Tuesday and has been sick ever since.”
She added: “It has been bad for two years and the drains have been overflowing on a regular basis – every tiny shower of rain will cause it to overflow. We had dirty toilet paper flowing out of there last summer and now there are lumps which I do not want to look at too closely.”
Thames Water spokesman Natalie Slater said: “A misconnection in the network is causing the drainage problems in Thorney Leys. This is due to a property having their sewer pipes wrongly connected to the surface water drainage system.”
She said a blockage in the area was first reported in November 2011 but the misconnection only became apparent in the past week.
Thames Water, the Environment Agency and West Oxfordshire District Council are trying to discover the source of the problem but it is not known how long this will take.
The organisations will meet to try to resolve the situation on Wednesday.
The surface water drainage system runs into the watercourse and, if it is discovered the misconnection was deliberate, the owner could be prosecuted for pollution.