Anger over sewage spill into gardens
Colin Ellis and his wife Jeannie with their poorly dog Max after raw sewage spilled into their garden in Critchmere Lane (HD47-462-18)
HEAVY rain in Haslemere caused sewage spills and closed the main road through the town last week.
Residents accused Thames Water of causing a health hazard as their gardens next to its treatment works in Critchmere Lane were flooded with raw sewage for the fifth time in a month.
One angy resident claims the health of his children has been put at risk and the family’s pet dog could be poisoned by the effluent.
Police attended and traffic diversions were in place around 6pm on November 17 and 8am during Monday’s rush hour, when Lower Street flooded under the railway bridge.
Cars had to be abandoned when they broke down because of the depth of the floods in Scotland Lane and the water overflowed on to the A286 Midhurst Road.
Concerned residents warned the essential infrastructure was not in place to support the large housing developments proposed for the town in Waverley Borough Council’s Local Plan.
Hardest hit by the floods were Gary Morgan and Colin Ellis, whose gardens next to the treatments works have been flooded with raw sewage five times since October 15, despite repeated calls for help to Thames Water.
Thames Water has denied their claims the sewage works can’t cope when there is extra waste water and said the problem was down to a defective pipe running through their front gardens.
Mr Morgan told the Herald:“On October 15, I found a pipe/manhole in the garden had failed and flooded the garden with sewage to a depth of up to 2ft.
“After many phone calls and one month having passed, I am now at the point where they have carried out an inadequate repair to the manhole on November 9 that failed on November 10, flooding the garden again.
“All in all, the garden has been flooded five times with sewage.
“Thames Water have been very difficult to deal with and do not seem to be too concerned that they have repeatedly filled someone’s garden with sewage who has three young children and three dogs.
“I’ve had to build a temporary bridge across the front path. It’s going to flood the house at some point.”
Mr Ellis fears the sewage may kill his dog Max, a 14-year-old Siberian Husky.
Mr Ellis told the Herald: “Max was ill the day after the garden first flooded last month so I fenced it off.”
Unfortunately, the dog found a way in the following day and was very ill and started collapsing less than 24 hours later.
Mr Ellis added: “Thames Water should have done something straight away. It breaks my heart that Max could die – he’s my little boy.”
A Thames Water spokeswoman said engineers replaced the manhole cover on Tuesday last week.
“We’re sorry about the flooding and appreciate this is not a pleasant experience,” she said.
“Our engineers attended to pump waste water away. This is a high-priority job for us and we’re urgently investigating the cause of the flooding.
“We’d like to thank residents for their patience and we’re working hard to get things back to normal as soon as possible.”
Haslemere town councillor Nikki Barton said: “I am very concerned Waverley Borough Council should take serious consideration of the impact of any new large housing developments on Haslemere’s water supplies as they develop the Local Plan for the town.
“Last summer homes in Haslemere South had no water as supplies were stretched to their limit.
“This weekend heavy downpours meant flooded, impassible roads in the town. Concreting over fields, woodland and green spaces will mean more rapid run off, increasing the risk of flooding – and hundreds of new homes planned for Haslemere under the Local Plan will surely stretch our finite water resources further.”
South Haslemere Residents’ Association, which has more than 200 members, is campaigning against Waverley’s site allocation of 50 houses at Red Court, in Scotland Lane, in an area of great landscape value.
Group spokesman Howard Brown said: “A development of this scale can do nothing but accentuate the flooding already suffered this year as it is already recognised by Waverley as a specific two and three flood zone issue.”
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