ELDERLY residents were evacuated to safety as a burst sewer sent a “Niagara Falls” of filth pouring through homes and gardens.
There were astonishing scenes of devastation in East Garston as Thames Water sent a small army of workers to try to contain the disaster.
There were also fears that the contamination had spread to the nearby River Lambourn.
A spokesman for Thames Water, Miles Evans, said: “We’re sorry to customers in East Garston who were impacted by a burst sewer pipe over the weekend, which resulted in some flooding.
“Our team stopped the flow quickly and have now completed the repair to the pipe.
“A full clean-up operation is underway and we have a team of customer representatives assisting those affected.”
The sewer pipe initially burst late on Saturday evening.
It was reportedly repaired within hours, but residents said it appeared to have sprung another leak on Monday.
Five properties in Humphreys Lane are among the worst affected.
Sovereign Housing Association, which owns some of the affected properties, moved two residents to alternative accommodation, including 94-year-old Rose Alder.
Roger and Shelley Green are among those affected who have stayed in their homes.
But they are having to wade through raw sewage a foot deep in their garden and only sandbags are preventing their kitchen being flooded.
In some properties, sewage is reportedly seeping up through the floor as recent heavy rains exacerbate the situation.
Mr Green said: “It was coming down our garden stairs like Niagra Falls.
“It’s too disgusting for words and the gardens have been covered in sanitary products and mess.
“As fast as we swept it away from our back door, more would come pouring down.”
Villager Sally Robson said: “As you come into the village past the Queens Arms the river is cloudy and stinking.
“The whole village smells.”
Residents have expressed frustration with repeated flooding and sewage-related incidents and Mrs Green said: “The infrastructure is 70 years old.
“It’s about time we had a permanent solution.”
Sarah Digweed has started a crowdfunding campaign, stating: “We’re raising £3,000 to help the elderly people of East Garston who have been flooded out of their bungalows by raw sewage and have lost absolutely everything.
“Unfortunately we can not replace the sentimental things they have lost, but if we can help with the practical stuff this would be great.”
The site had raised £340 as this newspaper went to press and it can be found here: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sarah-digweed
Thames Water said specialists and loss adjustors are in contact with those affected, as well as customer representatives.