BY NAOMI GORNALL and VICTORIA KALBRAIER
Thursday, February 7, 2013
IT’S a nightmare, claim residents who have been forced to endure months of noise and smell after cement-in-sewer mishap.
Fed up neighbours in the Defoe Road area of Ipswich today told of their growing frustration at the prospect of enduring SEVEN months of repair work to a sewer – a far cry from the estimated four weeks originally predicted.
The busy road was closed for emergency repairs after a long section of sewer was blocked with several tonnes of cement while building work at a house nearby was taking place in October.
When Anglian Water began digging in early November, residents living nearest to the disruption, at the junction with Chepstow Road, were told it would only take around a month.
But due to the complexity of the work, the water company says the project may not be completed until May – much to the annoyance of those living nearby.
Sally and Andy Gray, who live in Chepstow Road, are exasperated by the noise, smell and general disruption.
Mrs Gray said: “I suffer from a nervous condition and severe stress and for the first couple of weeks I couldn’t go out.
“The noise is constant.
“It is a nightmare – but not only that – to get in and out we’ve got to drive all the way round Epsom Drive now.
“When you’re here all the time, it feels like a battleground every single day.
“There have been days when the smell has been so bad I’ve had to keep the back door closed.”
Mr Gray added: “Anglian Water have been as helpful as they can.
“It’s OK to put up with a certain amount of disruption, but not when it goes on for this long.”
Anglian Water bosses have admitted that the work has been expensive and is taking much longer than anticipated.
Engineers are having to replace a large section of the main sewer which is about five metres underground. The sewage is instead being pumped through an overland pipe into a manhole further along the sewer.
A resident of Chepstow Road, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It’s a nightmare. We only moved in six weeks ago. They’d just started the work and they said it was going to be a couple of weeks.”
Roger Sheppard, of Defoe Road, added: “All the work started in October and it was only this week that we were able to get access to our own driveway.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare, not just for us but for everybody around here.”
Anglian Water spokesman Antony Innes said: “We are doing everything we can to complete it as quickly as we can.
“The work started in November and we anticipate it will take another three months before it is completed due to the size of the job.
“We have already done quite a lot of work, bearing in mind we are working at five and half metres deep.”
Engineers have already cleared concrete from 25m of sewer pipes downstream, and now they are to begin the difficult task of working upstream.
Mr Innes said: “We are not sure how far the concrete spreads in that direction – probably about 20m. The work itself is quite complex. We are doing what we can.
“Obviously it is an inconvenience. This wasn’t work we expected or planned to be doing.
“We hope the residents understand the situation we are in. The priority at the moment is getting things back to normal.”
The boss of the building firm which carried out the work has apologised for the error.
He said: “What happened was an accident. It was a pipe that broke off in the trench and let the concrete go through. My men were not to know what was happening.
“We were getting more concrete going through than we should have been so we opened up a manhole and realised what had happened.
“We have never had anything like this happen before and I never want it to happen again.
“It’s been a massive headache. It has taken years off my life – nobody has been more stressed and worried than I have.
“I am terribly sorry for all the inconvenience caused. Believe you me, I have been and still am very very worried and concerned about this. It certainly wasn’t done intentionally. It could have happened to any other building firm in town.”