The Thames Water sewage lorry that has been parked out on Market Place since 29 June is due to a blocked sewer which caused a spill out of a manhole in the Blanchards Law office basement opposite.
Robert Goodliffe from Blanchards Law said, “The spillage happened on the Thursday of Regatta. We engaged a drain cleaning operative who confirmed the cause was within Thames Waters’ domain and it was reported to them. Thames Water responded with a blockage clearing crew. Unfortunately although they were relatively certain of the need to raise a manhole cover positioned under the fruit & veg market stall to affect a clearance and manage the risk, at that time the stall was not directed to close and provide access. Thames Water continued to attempt clearance of the blockage with the truck they had and the access points available. At some stage they resourced a larger vehicle from Swindon which arrived early evening and the blockage was cleared. We were told the blockage was positioned just outside the HSBC bank. Following clearance Thames Water inspected the sewer with a camera and some defects were identified which will need remedy. Since then a pumping truck has been in place in case of further blockage. This has happened at least once since the original clearance as far as I’m aware.”
Thames Water contractors have carried out an initial clean and disinfectant of the basement and this Friday more contractors are returning to complete a ‘valet’ clean which will remove any damaged/spoiled items, jet wash, disinfect and wipe down any items.
Robert added, “I should say that I think Thames Water have been exemplary in their response. For all their obvious faults/problems, their staff and contractors have been very helpful, informative and put into action the things that they promised to. These events happen and it’s the public that put wipes and fat down the sewer. I’ve had to call a few times to hustle things along and the phone support has been good too.”
A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We responded to reports of sewer flooding in Market Place on Wednesday 28 June. Our teams cleared a blockage which was caused by a build-up of fat, grease and debris. Customers can help us prevent blockages by only flushing the three Ps – pee, poo and paper and disposing of fat and grease in a waste bin.
“During the blockage investigation, the team identified a broken sewer pipe further up the line on Bell Street and have since been arranging the necessary permits to carry out repair work. This is scheduled to take place this weekend overnight to reduce disruption to motorists.
“We currently have tankers at the site to manage the excess flow of our sewer networks which will ensure residents can continue to flush their loos and protect them from flooding.
“We’d like to apologise to residents and motorists for any disruption caused during this time.”