Contamination fears after sewage leak in Leighton Buzzard street

The leak on Sunday was caused by wet wipes blockage

By Lynn Hughes
Wednesday, 23rd March 2022, 5:26 pm

A Leighton Buzzard woman said she had to stop a young family from paddling in a stream after noticing raw sewage was seeping into it.

Elizabeth Hooper had called Anglian Water after spotting the sewage down the road from her house in Cotefield Drive on Sunday (March 20).

Residents on the drive had woken to find the sewage on their road on Sunday morning.

Residents said the sewage had leached into a local stream

And as fears grew it was seeping into a nearby stream and heading for the River Ouzel, there were frantic calls to Anglian Water.

"The raw sewage was coming out of a manhole and down the road into a stream and heading towards Adam's Bottom and the River Ouzel," said Elizabeth.

"I called Anglian Water, who had already been contacted by another resident, and they said it would take 48 hours to sort."

She said the Environment Agency and local councillors were also contacted and the water company then came out that day.

Elizabeth said she was told there were only two people on call in the region on Sunday which is why there was a delay.

""There needs to be adequate cover and they need to be quicker," she said. "I had to stop a young family going to paddle in the stream!"

The blockage was traced to wet wipes collecting in the drains and quickly cleared. but Elizabeth said it was not the first time they have had to deal with the issue; there was a similar problem in January this year.

An Anglian Water spokesperson said, “Our teams were called out to a blocked sewer on Cotefield Drive, Leighton Buzzard earlier this week which was reported as flowing into the road gulleys. On attendance there was no visual impact to the local watercourse and additional tests have showed no issues were caused to the watercourse. The team found that the blockage was caused by wet wipes being disposed of into the sewer system, this was cleared and the area was also cleaned up.

“Anglian Water is asking residents to help keep the sewers clear and free of blockages by only flushing the 3Ps (poo, paper and pee) down the toilet. Anything else (including wipes, cotton buds and sanitary products) should go in the bin. As much as 80% of the 40,000 blockages cleared every year by the company could be avoided by taking these simple actions.”

South Beds MP Andrew Selous said: "Wet wipes cause havoc to sewage treatment plants which is why we are urgently consulting on banning wet wipes with plastic in, which I very much want us to do. For now though, please do not flush them down the toilet."