Fatbergs cause raw sewage to erupt through manholes in two areas of a Banbury estate

Water board bosses have pleaded with householders not to put any kind of fat, oil, grease or wet wipes down their toilets after 'fatbergs' caused sewage to spew up into residential streets.

Raw sewage spews onto Bankside from a drain blocked by a fatberg
Raw sewage spews onto Bankside from a drain blocked by a fatberg

Thames Water said it had responded to reports of blockages in Hightown Road and on Bankside, opposite Wood End, following a reports from concerned residents.

The Banbury Guardian was contacted by a householder who sent a photo of raw sewage flowing out of a manhole on Bankside.

Enquiries to Thames Water initially suggested this was the Hightown Road incident but it emerged engineers had dealt with two blocked drains that weekend (August 21).

The scene on Bankside before the fatberg was cleared by water board engineers

Our correspondent said: "Raw sewage burst through Bankside's freshly laid tarmac, halfway between Bodicote flyover and Hightown Road, and it flowed away into the nearest drain. Yes, those brown lumps are what you think they are.

"That road has serviced Cherwell Heights for years with no problems. Only two things have changed recently; resurfacing the road and removing the chicanes and building a huge amount of extra houses around it on Longford Park.

"If that is a storm drain and not a sewer drain in the gutter nearby, then raw sewage will have made its way to the outlet which could be a river or canal."

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “Over the weekend (in question) we received reports of an overflowing manhole near Bankside in Banbury and sent a team to investigate. Upon lifting the manhole cover on Sunday, our engineers discovered a large build-up of foul-smelling fat and grease clogging up the pipe, which had caused the manhole to overflow. The team quickly removed this before cleaning and disinfecting the surrounding area.”

The spokesman confirmed that a similar clear up operation had taken place at Hightown Road on the same day.

"We encourage everyone to help us keep the sewers running smoothly by only flushing the three Ps – pee, poo and (toilet) paper – and to let cooking fat, grease and oil cool before scooping it in to the bin or a container to be reused.

"Fats that get in to the sewer network can congeal to form blockages which risk sewage backing up into people’s homes, businesses and the environment."

Customers can find helpful advice at www.thameswater.co.uk/binitcampaign