Harpenden road closed after rogue builder dumps concrete down drain

Road closed

Road closed - Credit: Archant

A major sewage failure that caused a central Harpenden road to partially close yesterday (Thu) will not be fixed for ten days, after a rogue builder poured concrete down the drain.

A rogue builder forced the closure of a key Harpenden road for over a week by pouring concrete down a drain.

Station Road, between Arden Grove and the A1081 High Street, was closed between Thursday October 23 and Saturday November 1.

Thames Water spokesman Stuart White said: “This disruption has been caused by the actions of a builder selfishly and irresponsibly pouring concrete into our sewers.

“Normally blockages are caused by fat, oil and grease building up in the sewer but unfortunately in this case it’s concrete, so we can’t just jet it through.

“It’s in there and it’s set to the pipe, so we need to remove the pipe and replace it with a new one. This is very frustrating, a complete waste of our time, and not the first time damage has been caused by private contractors pouring concrete into our sewers.

“Our main priority is to fix the problem and restore normal service as soon as possible, investigate and then reclaim the costs from whoever is responsible.”

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Co-owner of News 4 U, Nitin Shah, has seen profits drop by around 20 per cent since the road has been out of use.

He said: “It has affected my business a lot, it’s like a ghost town in here and on the street, you can’t see anybody and it’s a big loss to my business.”

But others have found the closure surprisingly refreshing. Alec Goodhand, owner of That Little Place, said: “It has actually been quite pleasant as the roads have not been as busy and we haven’t really noticed a smell. The only thing I would say is that people have been struggling to park.”

Sewer abuse increases the risk of blocked sewers, which leads to thousands of people’s homes flooding with sewage every year.

Mr White added: “Sewers are designed to take only loo roll, dirty water and human waste. Nothing else. But sadly we are also seeing more and more fat and wet wipes - which should never be flushed even if the packaging says ‘flushable’ - ending up in our sewers.

“That’s a big headache for us, but it can also lead to sewage backing up into our customers’ homes and gardens, which is utterly hideous.

“Our plea is for everyone to start heeding the sewerman war cry: ‘Bin it – don’t block it’.”

The latest closure comes after two other sewage failures on the road in the past two weeks, which have caused quite a stink in the community