Unprecedented floods in Marlborough earlier this month which forced a sewer lid open have left raw sewage pouring into the River Kennet for days on end.

The incident, which was first reported by a member of the public on January 5, 2024, was raised with Thames Water, the Environment Agency and the Action for the River Kennet (ARK) organisation shortly after the floods took place.

However, Thames Water has yet to take action, with sewage continuing to pour into the river.

“Raw sewage and everything else we put down our loos is still flowing straight into the Kennet today at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve from the popped sewer lid next to this fragile and precious chalk stream," explained a spokesperson for ARK.

“This access point is where we take children into the river to learn about how special their river is.

"Before the flood it was a lovely spot known for spawning wild brown trout and breeding kingfisher, today it’s a smelly polluted mess.

"Although the overflowing sewer was reported to Thames Water as a pollution incident immediately after the flood, they have yet to take any action."

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Kennet Valley Primary School children usually attend ARK River School at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve.Kennet Valley Primary School children usually attend ARK River School at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve. (Image: ARK)

Alongside sewage in the river at Stonebridge Wild River Reserve, Thames Water’s EDM map shows that sewage has also been discharging into the river at Fyfield since December 31, 2023.

At the time of writing, this means 383 hours of continuous sewage discharged into Wiltshire’s rivers, which is yet to be tackled by Thames Water.

Charlotte Hitchmough, director of ARK, has now raised the issue with MP Danny Kruger, who has written to Thames Water to share his concern.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Sewage has been pouring into the River Kennet for days.Sewage has been pouring into the River Kennet for days. (Image: Thames Water)

"Sewage, fuel, chemicals, and rubbish have all been washed into our rivers, which are already struggling against a daily onslaught of contaminants," said Charlotte.

"This incident is not isolated. Across Ogbourne, Aldbourne and Lambourn sewers are spilling untreated sewage into the street and down to the river, long after the flood has passed."

Speaking about the incident, a spokesperson for Thames Water said:

“We take seriously any reports of suspected pollution and always welcome feedback from our customers on how we can improve our online “Report a Problem” service.

“We’re aware of a reported pollution from a manhole at Stonebridge Wild Nature Reserve in Marlborough.  

"At first we had difficulty locating the manhole and apologise for the length of time it has taken to investigate.

"We've since attended the site, where we confirmed there was no blockage in the sewer system and the recent river flooding likely caused our local sewer system to overload resulting in heavily diluted wastewater to escape from nearby manholes.

"We will assess the site and see if a clean-up is required.”