WESSEX Water has been criticised for its response to a sewer leakage that affected a well-used footpath in Malmesbury.
On Wednesday evening, sewerage was seen coming out of the drain cover on the King’s Wall footpath, spilling in all directions towards Burnivale, the Maltings and the River Avon.
Malmesbury’s Wiltshire county councillor Gavin Grant has expressed his dissatisfaction over the utility company’s reaction after it took them more than three hours to send a lone responder to fix the problem.
He said: “Sewage leakage is a very serious matter.
“If a drain is overflowing that’s a problem but this wasn’t just rain water, it was a sewage pipe.”
Councillor Grant saw the spillage while walking his dog along the path and spoke to the responder.
“It strikes me as a totally inadequate response", he said.
"The man wasn’t equipped with any warning signs and there were no lights – it was just a single individual in a built up area of Malmesbury.
“It’s an area of concern because there are children walking through it and people walking their dogs, it’s a real health risk.”
Wessex Water said that the spill was caused by a blockage after somebody poured fat down the drain.
A spokeswoman said: “The crew cleaned up the area, but as it was dark we returned the following day to ensure the area was clear.
“This incident highlights the problems that can be caused when fat, oil and grease is poured down the sink.
“We would urge residents and businesses to properly dispose of these to avoid blockages such as this one, which could have led to flooding or even pollution of watercourses.”
Wessex Water added that it deals with around 13,000 blockages a year caused by people pouring fats, oils and grease down the sink or flushing wet wipes down the toilet.