SHALBOURNE villagers are being kept awake by noisy Thames Water tankers transporting sewage from the village at all hours of the night – with the problem set to continue for another month.

Residents have already had to endure six weeks of disruption after a fault was found at the start of May near the sewage works in Mill Lane.

As a result, Thames Water have been using tankers to transport the waste elsewhere.

But despite six weeks of pleas to the company, frustrated residents say enough is enough and want the problem fixed.

Polly Cox who runs Shalbourne Stores said the issue first started after residents were left in the dark about the work to repair the fault.

The 37-year-old added: “These tankers are having to reverse down a track which is only just wide enough for it to travel on so they have damaged the hedges because of it. It takes 20 minutes to reverse down there and people are obviously worried that if they are moving all of the sewage, it runs the risk of it spilling or contaminating the area.

“When people did grill them about it, they said they didn’t know if it was a mechanical fault or a bacterial one. It is quite a long time to establish what is wrong.

“The junction where the tankers are backing out from is near an ‘s’ bend and cars come whizzing up there. It is only a matter of time before crashes there. When the tanker is full, it has to go back into the village and then on the A338 which is a tricky junction anyway.

“It is an accident waiting to happen. There are four to eight tankers here in a 24 hour period and so the wear and tear on the road is already concerning people with regards to potholes.

“We appreciate that they are managing the problem and trying to not allow for pollution or contamination but it has been going on long enough.”

Thames Water say they’ve reviewed the times the tankers are attending the site, restricting them to between 6am and 10pm, seven days a week.

Fellow resident Angela Howard added: “It would have been helpful if they told us because I think everyone would feel a little differently about the situation.

“On that side of the village, it is a huge inconvenience. There is the noise and the time it is taking and people are becoming disturbed in the early hours of the morning because of these tankers.”

A Thames Water spokesman said: “We’re really sorry for the disruption the tankers are causing. A fault in the process at the sewage works means the waste water can’t be treated to our normal standard so we’re using tankers to take it elsewhere for treatment. If we didn’t do this we’d be sending untreated sewage into the environment which clearly isn’t acceptable.

“We’re working to get the site operating normally again so the tankers are no longer needed but this will take a number of weeks. Once we’ve stopped using the tankers we’ll make good any damage along their route.”