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Anglian Water denies flooding in Harston contained sewage as villagers’ anger grows

Villagers in Harston are aghast that water has been flooding onto the road for the past three days - and say it has included sewage.

Anglian Water said today (May 12), however, that while flooding continued, tests had shown sewage was not present.

The water initially started pumping from a manhole in the Button End area of the South Cambridgeshire village.

The Button End area of Harston with water continuing to emerge from the road, May 12, 2023. Picture: Charles Laughlan
The Button End area of Harston with water continuing to emerge from the road, May 12, 2023. Picture: Charles Laughlan

Villagers flagged up the flooded area of the South Cambridgeshire village on social media on Wednesday. Local resident Rebecca Kord posted photos on Facebook and wrote: “Yes this really is sewage and not water streaming down the road! Great that Anglia Water still haven’t bothered sorting out the sewage pumping down Button End, flooding the road and going into the river via the ditch.”

Another Harston resident, Vince Blocke, said today (May 12): “The toilets are still not flushing properly, but better. The sewage lake has gone but it is still coming out of the manhole, albeit at a slower rate. It is going straight down a road drain and Into the river. There is a lot of residue on the path/road I will find out what they are going to do about that.

“I have spoken again with Anglian Water. They are getting an update on the tanker situation, which needs to continue to reduce the volume in the main to within the capabilities of the main. Once they have got the leak stopped they will clean the road and pavement of residue. In the future they will put out warning signs warning that this flood is sewage.”

An Anglian Water spokesperson said on Friday: “Anglian Water are working on the localised flooding at Harston and we can confirm that sewage is not present in the flood water. We are carrying out tests regularly to check the water is surface water and not from the pumping station.

“Our combined gravity sewer system has been inundated with torrential rainfall and because of this localised flooding has happened. Our pumping station near to Harston is operating normally and giving no cause for concern re waste overflows. Engineers are on site now to continue to oversee this.

“Fundamentally, the sewer catchment is recovering from the excessive rainfall and the pumping station can’t pump the excess any faster than it is. To aid the recovery, we have tankers on site which are being used to move the surface water which will then give a significant improvement.

“We apologise for any disruption, we are working hard on site to clear the flooding and will continue to monitor the situation across the next few days as the weather continues to be excessive for this time of year.”

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