Tankers are operating round the clock transporting sewage to the main Marlborough treatment works after the collapse of a pipe at a pumping station.

The operation, which has already cost Thames Water £75,000, has brought disruption to residents in the Elcot Lane area near the main sewage works.

For two weeks, a constant stream of tankers has been shuttling between the Bay Bridges pumping station on the A346 to the Elcot Lane works at all times of the day and night.

Residents are resigned to the situation but would like to know how long it is likely to continue. One, who asked not to be named, said: “These things have got to be done, but it would be nice to know how long we will have to put up with it.”

The area’s Wiltshire councillor, Stewart Dobson, said: “I share the very real concerns of local residents regarding the transfer by lorry of sewage to the treatment centre in Elcot Lane.

“I am in the process of finding out from Thames Water how long this operation is expected to continue, and have expressed my concern to both Thames Water and Wiltshire Council over the dangers involved to local residents and members of the public over the continued use of Elcot Lane by large lorries.

“The lane is very narrow towards the treatment centre and I want drivers of these lorries warned to take extra care as the lane is used by pedestrians and children on bicycles. I have expressed my concerns to a Highway Officer from Wiltshire Council, and am pressing Thames Water.”

A spokesman for Thames Water said the problem had been caused by the collapse of a pipe. He said: “There are currently 40 tanker movements a day. Unfortunately, this is noisy and it is also causing additional disruption on the roads. We’re really sorry for this and are working to get the job done as quickly as we can.

“We can’t say exactly when this will be yet as we are having to order in a specialist piece of equipment to do the repair. As soon as it has arrived, we will get the repair done as quickly as we can.

“We are looking at ways we can reduce the amount of tankers needed but obviously our top priority has to be preventing homes from flooding with sewage.”

Charlotte Hitchmough, from Action for the River Kennet (ARK), said: “It is a source of concern for us but Thames Water seems to be doing all the right things to prevent any sewage seeping into the river. Any pollution from raw sewage would be a disaster for wildlife.”

Lionel Peck, of Elcot Lane, said: “It’s not as if the lorries are coming along here like crazy. It’s a job that’s got to be done.”