Online Editions

9th Dec, 2021

Couple’s outrage as raw sewage floods Warwick garden

A DISTRESSED Warwick couple have been ‘reduced to tears’ by raw sewage which regularly bursts from an overflowing drain into their garden and the River Avon.

Ben Thompson and Stephanie Holt live in a house in Mill Street which backs onto a well-used stretch of the river in the shadow of Warwick Castle.

The couple says the drain gets clogged and bursts a few times a year – leaving human waste, fatbergs and used wipes and tampons in its wake.

The drain is only metres from the river, where most of the overflow ends up.

Severn Trent Water is responsible for the sewage network – but the couple say it has not resolved the problem since they moved in six years ago.

Ms Holt said: “If the sewage pipes get clogged and there is a downpour, the drain cover explodes out of the ground.

“The resulting sewage spew has not only destroyed part of my garden, but it also smells revolting and flows straight into the Avon.

“I really worry about it polluting the river. I see people swimming regularly and, of course, all the rowing boats from St Nicholas Park.

“The last time it burst it was so violent and repulsive it reduced me to tears.

“It has also made me, my partner and our dog physically ill before – and cleaning it is a nightmare.

“I am begging Severn Trent to solve this problem.”

Mr Thompson said they often complained to Severn Trent that the drain looked clogged.

He said: “It should not be left to us to chase up and check that they are fulfilling their cleaning and maintenance obligations, yet this is what we have been doing for the last six years.

“And the problem is getting worse. Every time it starts raining, we are afraid it will burst again.”

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western has written to Severn Trent demanding the company resolve the situation.

He said: “The clogged drain is a direct and continuing threat to the environmental health of the river and the mental and physical health of the couple.

“That particular iconic stretch of the River Avon is one of the most used and best recognised in Warwick.

“For its health to be damaged by negligence on behalf of Severn Trent is quite frankly unacceptable.

“It also begs the question – are there other similar drains in Warwick and Leamington releasing sewage into the river along the Avon?”

A Severn Trent spokesperson said the company had carried out sewer pipe cleansing to clear the network of fats, oils and greases.

They added: “During past cleanses our teams have cleared 13 tonnes of fat from the network, and more recently have cleared another 12 tonnes, all of which is has been a direct result of sewer misuse.

“We’re working with food service establishments in Warwick to help prevent sewer blockages and fatbergs, by encouraging kitchen staff to install grease traps in kitchens. We’re also on site working to inspect our network, and this will involve bringing in specialist equipment to cleanse the network, and conducting a survey checking for defects.

“We understand how disruptive sewer issues can be, which is why it is our priority to make sure our network is operating as it should – while continuing to encourage everyone to look after the network by not pouring used fats, oils and greases down the sink and instead disposing of them correctly to help prevent further issues.”

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