Flooding misery is made worse by raw sewage

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A VILLAGE is clearing up the mess after it was inundated with sewage and floodwater.

Hambledon suffered badly after heavy rain fell on already saturated ground on Saturday and turned many of the village’s roads into rivers.

Steve Guermonprez, l''andlord of The Vine in Hambledon, keeps the water out of his pub although there are still a series of pumps trying to empty his cellar ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-7735)

Steve Guermonprez, l''andlord of The Vine in Hambledon, keeps the water out of his pub although there are still a series of pumps trying to empty his cellar ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (14145-7735)

This, coupled with the failing of a pumping station, led to sewage coming out of manholes in the village centre.

Around 100 villagers battled the elements on Saturday night to protect their homes from the floodwater – the worst seen since 2001.

Hampshire County Council stepped in early Sunday morning and provided the villagers with extra sandbags and put on staff to work through Sunday to clean up.

Executive member for the environment Cllr Sean Woodward visited the village on Saturday.

He said: ‘The water was running through the village, mixed with raw sewage.

‘It really is pretty awful. I have brought this matter up with the Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street. We had put a bid in for flood mitigation works for Hambledon and this shows exactly why we need it.

‘It is absolutely appalling and I feel for the community which has shown the most amazing community spirit. I will continue to press Parliament to get the funds for these flood mitigation measures.’

MP George Hollingbery visited the village to assess the damage.

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘Water was coming up through the ground and almost within an hour the High Street began to flood.

‘There was an army of people out protecting the properties with sandbags, The whole community was really coming together – there were hundreds of people out helping each other.’

Hambledon Flood Action Group (FAG) advised villagers to keeps their eyes on pumps, even throughout the night, to make sure they are working properly. It advised people to keep children away from the water, as diluted raw sewage was coming out of manholes in Upper West Street.

Chairman Tony Higham said: ‘Please keep checking on neighbours and let FAG know of any issues.’

Officials at Southern Water said the company had already invested £160,000 to seal sewers in the southern half of the village.

They said the pumping station, which has had new pipes installed, had been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of rain.

A spokesman said the pumping station would be run manually until it can be fixed.