Sewage delays in the pipeline at Leighton Buzzard

The road remains closed to traffic
The road remains closed to traffic

Householders from Leighton Buzzard are feeling down in the dumps over planned sewage works which have dragged on months over schedule.

On July 17, Anglian Water informed residents of a sewage upgrade connected to the Chamberlains Barn housing development, with underground drilling affecting the streets of Plantation Road, Heath Road, Greenhill and Firs Path.

The plan was for new pipework to be drilled under Greenhill in order to connect to a new pumping station off Heath Road. Residents were told a “directional drilling technique” would be used to minimise disruption, with work expected to last eight weeks.

But over four months on, the project is still ongoing and Greenhill remains closed to traffic. A field between Plantation Road and the River Ouzel has also been dug up contrary to plans.

The LBO understands that problems with the directional drilling technique has contributed to the delay, and the initial contractor is believed to have pulled out of the project.

A resident said: “Anglian Water wrote that the sewer upgrade works were essential to support ‘growth’ in this area, and was to be completed by using a directional drilling technique ‘which requires limited excavation and will avoid major impact on the landscape’.

“Local residents have been told that the drilling company initially commissioned to undertake the work withdrew after starting the project, since which time, other contractors have been on site.

“It’s understood that there have been significant problems with the directional drilling technique and this has resulted in a field between Plantation Road and the River Ouzel being excavated... the very thing Anglian Water said would not happen.

“I am not critical of Anglian Water – their communications have been good up until the high-tech directional drilling programme hit the buffers!”

An Anglian Water spokesman said: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, our work to install a new sewer pipe in Greenhill has taken longer than we originally anticipated.

“We are sorry for the disruption this has caused local residents, but rest assured our teams are on site, and are aiming to finish work by mid-December.

“Unfortunately, our teams have not been able to complete the drilling work from Greenhill to the Leighton Linslade treatment works as initially planned due to a deterioration in ground conditions.

“However, we are currently installing a new length of sewer pipe in Greenhill which will temporarily connect the new housing development into the existing sewer network.

“Our priority is to complete this work before Christmas. Our engineers will then be working on an alternative plan to complete the connection of the new pipe into the treatment works next year.

“We’ll be talking to local residents before this second work begins through letters, meetings and drop in sessions in order to include their feedback into the plans for the remainder of the scheme.

“If customers have any queries, they can contact our 24-hour customer helpline on 03457 145 145.”