PEOPLE living in a Herefordshire village have vented their frustrations at Welsh Water as they claim the local sewerage system is not big enough to cope with all the wastewater.

For the past 15 years, the residents of Yarpole in north Herefordshire said they had been battling with Welsh Water over what they claim are failures of the sewerage system.

The group, spearheaded by Julian Stokes, said the whole system fails whenever there is heavy rain, with untreated sewage flooding onto the roadway, and into the river Lugg.

Mr Stokes said Welsh Water had previously blamed excessive quantities of fats and wet wipes being flushed down the system, but then said it was due to rainwater pipes going into the system, something residents are charged extra for.

Mr Stokes said: “It is extraordinary that in the 21st century households pay Welsh Water to collect their rainwater, mix it with sewage and then discharge it into the stream.”

While new homes have now been built in the picturesque village, Mr Stokes said Welsh Water had "failed in its duty to match its work to the expansion".

Welsh Water said it was aware of the concerns of people in Yarpole and had held meetings with them.

A spokesperson said the system serving the village is sized to meet its needs.

Yarpole sewage pumping station.. Picture: Rob Davies

Yarpole sewage pumping station.. Picture: Rob Davies

The issue, it said, was linked to a number of unauthorised surface water connections which have been made to the system over the years which allows too much rainwater into the system than it is designed to cope with.

"We have also located groundwater infiltration getting into the system which also puts additional pressure on a system that was only designed to accommodate sewage and not rainfall," they said.

"Unlike much of the sewer network, this system is not designed to be combined (with highway drainage as well as sewage) but foul sewage only."

They said that works mean the system has not overflowed into the road since 2020 and the only spills are from the permitted outfall pipe at the pumping station

"We continue to seek to remove the surface water getting in and it is important that anyone undertaking any building work at their property makes sure that pipes are correctly connected to the foul and surface water drainage network," they said.

They added: “We do appreciate that there are concerns locally and are committed to playing our part.

"However, we have been clear that surface water entering the system is the main problem and this is not something the system is designed to deal with.

We will keep the situation under review and if appropriate undertake further investment work to improve the resilience of the system."