Village’s concern over flooding

Flooding in Clyst St Mary last year.

Flooding in Clyst St Mary last year. - Credit: Archant

Clyst St Mary residents are calling for action to be taken about flooding in their village, which they say is due to an overworked sewer network.

The bottom end of the village experienced flooding last November, which residents say saw raw sewage bubbling up through inspection hatches in the road, which lead to a combined water and sewage pipe.

This foul water flooded their homes, and they fear this will happen again unless the sewage system is upgraded.

South West Water says fluvial flooding, not sewer flooding, was the cause of the problems, however residents say that a field which absorbs flooding from the River Clyst was not breached.

Resident Mike Norman said: “The field was pretty full, but it didn’t come over.”

Clyst St Mary resident Graham Harcombe added: “We all appreciate we had extreme weather but they are hiding behind that.

“It looks like we’ll be continuously flooded because of the pumping system. It’s a 450 metre pipe and it’s at maximum.”

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Adding to residents’ fears, they have been told by the Environment Agency that South West Water has cancelled plans for a new sewage treatment works for the Cranbrook development, instead sending sewage from the new town to a pumping station at Blue Ball Lane.

Residents feel this is not adequate, and will result in their sewage pipe backing up and creating further flooding. Mr Norman said: “We’re having development all around us, and they are not putting in the infrastructure to cope with sewage.”

Despite residents’ concerns, South West Water insists its system, which is being upgraded, will be able to deal with Cranbrook.

A spokesman said: “A new sewer will take sewage from Cranbrook to Countess Wear Sewage Treatment Works in Exeter.

“The closest this pipe will get to Clyst St Mary is the Blue Ball Pumping Station at Sandygate, which will be upgraded as part of the scheme.”

South West Water has now agreed to attend a public meeting with Bishops Clyst Parish Council in the village on May 23 to hear residents’ concerns.