Broken pipe brings sewage problem

ENVIRONMENTAL health officers have been called in after human effluent leaked from a broken sewerage pipe in an area of a west Suffolk town.

Laurence Cawley

ENVIRONMENTAL health officers have been called in after human effluent leaked from a broken sewerage pipe in an area of a west Suffolk town.

The cause of the problems in Bury St Edmunds is a broken sewerage pipe which is privately owned by residents in tranquil Fountains Road.

The issue was first noticed two weeks ago when Tony and Julie Pierce awoke to notice a noxious smell. It soon emerged the smell was coming from their own front driveway, where a manhole cover was overflowing with other people's flush waste.

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They subsequently endured days of having waste lapping at their front doorstep and a group of residents have had to work together to fund the plumbing work needed to fix the problem.

A temporary pipe is currently in place but more work still needs to be done.

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Meanwhile the same broken pipe, which runs through Anglian Water's land at the firm's pumping station, has also led to sewage swamping a grassy area around the pumping station. This has started to spill out towards the busy A143 Horringer Road, a carriageway well used by pedestrians, runners and cyclists.

Environmental health officers from St Edmundsbury Borough Council have been called in and have urged those affected to clear up the mess before public health is put at risk.

Mrs Pierce, who has lived in Fountains Road for about eight years, said they had come very close to having what plumbers call a “surge” as a result of the problems, which would have involved sewage coming up her kitchen drain pipes and out into her home.

She claimed the problems were exacercabted by Anglian Water, which jetted the wrong pipe the day after she first reported the problems and which, she claims, had made it difficult for her plumbers to access the pumping station where the affected pipe was blocked.

“What it turned out to be was the pipe has smashed and broken inside their compound - there was no way it could ever have been sorted without access to their land. It was a horrible experience which could have been dealt with very quickly.”

Anglian Water admits it jetted the wrong pipe at the outset but said it had done over and above what could have been reasonably expected to help out the Fountains Road residents.

A spokeswoman for the water company said although the problem was on its pumping station the sewer itself was private and not its responsibility. She said a team from Anglian Water had been out to clear up the area around the pumping station not because it was obliged to, but as a public courtesy.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said: “We had a complaint about a river of sewage. We have checked it out and it is a private sewer which goes into a pumping station.

“It is the responsibility of the sewer owners and where it has flowed onto land it is the responsibility of the landowner to clear it up.”

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