INCHES of water and raw sewage greeted residents of a Cirencester street on Tuesday morning after a night of torrential rain caused another bout of flooding misery.
People living in Cherry Tree Drive could only watch as streams of excess water, carrying raw sewage and toilet paper, poured out of manhole covers and into residents’ front and back gardens.
Brian Barnes, of Cherry Tree Drive and chairman of the Churn Catchment Flood Prevention Group, told the Standard that the flooding started early on Saturday morning and was made worse by the heavy rain on Monday night.
He said: “It’s been pretty dire here. Living in this area is like having the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head every winter. We are constantly waiting for the big storm to come and flood our homes.”
Brian told how the flooding had prevented him and his wife from carrying out everyday chores such as washing clothes and dishes and flushing the toilet.
“It’s just a massive, massive inconvenience for everybody that has been affected by it,” he said.
Engineers from Thames Water arrived at Cherry Tree Drive on Tuesday morning to aid people affected by the flooding.
A spokesman for Thames Water said: “Our teams have been working around the clock in Cirencester to combat heavy rainfall and river floodwater entering our sewer network.
“We’ve so far received no reports of customers suffering from internal sewer flooding and we hope this is due to our proactive work in the community over the last year.”
However, people living in Hereward Road, a notorious flooding blackspot, managed to escape the worst of flooding after early preventative measures were put in force.
A wall of sandbags was erected near to the Hereward Road properties closest to the River Churn and a water pump was brought in to Thames Water to pump contaminated water into the Abbey Grounds.
Dorothy Hoyle, of Hereward Road, said that she lives in constant fear of bad weather hitting the town.
She said: “I feel absolutely sick when I hear it’s going to rain. I lose all of my appetite and I just never feel safe indoors.”
Cirencester mayor Joe Harris, who spent the weekend helping those affected, criticised Cotswold District Council after he claimed that its emergency phone line was down during the heavy rain.
He said: “It’s absolutely awful. I gave it a try and could not get through. We had an unfolding situation and there was no way of getting through to the emergency helpline.”
CDC disputed the Mayor’s claims. A spokesman said: “Unfortunately, due to a high volume of calls being handled during the adverse weather on Saturday, customers may have experienced a longer than normal wait.
“Records show that on Saturday the average wait time for CDC calls to be answered was around two and a half minutes. This resulted in 12 calls being abandoned because the callers chose not to wait for an answer.
“On Sunday, the service was returned to normal efficiency. Residents can rest assured that CDC was fully prepared to respond to potential emergencies.”