Problems with the waterworks

Sewage spills in Old Headington

With your help, we have compiled a list of all the flooding and sewage spill-related incidents in Headington Ward over the recent past, and it’s clear that a number of incidents reported in Old Headington are interlinked.

The combined sewer at the lower end of Osler Road contains both floodwater and sewage in separate pipes that are located quite near to each other. This combined sewer is also located very near to a main sewer running from the JR Hospital.

The flow from the combined sewer does not continue down St Andrew’s Road to Stoke Place and Dunstan Road. Instead, it turns right and is pumped uphill towards Laurel Farm Close. However if the manhole cover above the combined sewer is forced up above the ground after heavy rain or when there’s a blockage, the floodwater and/or sewage runs down the hill towards Ruskin College, and causes a lot of distress to those living at the bottom of the hill. We are aware that the guide hall has been flooded and that several properties in Stoke Place have been invaded by sewage in recent months.

The meeting with Thames Water was very helpful. They are working hard to investigate whether there is any mis-connection elsewhere in the area which could cause a crossover between fair and foul effluent, and we’ve heard today that some progress was achieved only yesterday by Thames Water in trying to track this faulty connection down.

Thames Water have offered to give local councillors copies of ‘sewer maps’ of Headington Ward, and we think this will be very useful in trying to track down the source of these problems.

It’s clear that people get confused about who to report such incidents to – the city council? the County Council? Thames Water? Fix my street? to local councillors? to the Headington and Marston Forum? So one of the issues we are addressing is getting some leaflets printed up to give people clearer guidance.

We also discussed whether Headington’s infrastructure is fit for purpose both currently, and in the future when further planning applications are made by the universities and hospitals and other organisations in the area. Thames Water will investigate the capacity of sewers in areas such as Old Road, and liaise with the senior managers and planners at the city council once these results are known.

If you have experienced difficulties with sewage spills or storm water flooding in your area, and haven’t let us know, please do get in touch as we want to keep our files on this fully updated! That way, we can monitor Thames Water’s progress.

See related Oxford Mail article here

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