RESIDENTS of a village near Stockbridge have been told that a water company has temporarily stopped its plan to pump large quantities of wastewater into the River Test near Stockbridge.

As previously reported, Southern Water has set up a temporary pump to flush out water to the River Test at Chilbolton Cow Common, which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

The residents in the area were initially informed that the pumping would start on Thursday, January 25.

However, they have now been informed that Southern Water has temporarily postponed its plan to start pumping.

READ MORE: Southern Water plans to pump wastewater into River Test

A Southern Water spokesperson said the geology of the Chilbolton area is highly vulnerable and the pumping plan will be implemented if water and sewage start entering people’s homes.

While head of Wastewater Networks, Alex Saunders, said the company is currently not using the temporary pumps and tankers are taking excess flows away for normal treatment.

Mr Saunders said: “We are not using the pipes set up to pump into the Test. At the moment tankers are taking excess flows away for normal treatment. This plan using pipes] will only be implemented as an absolute last resort to prevent flooding within homes, schools and businesses because groundwater levels are exceptionally high and overloading the system.

“It was last used during floods about three years ago and will operate for as short a period as possible. Releasing highly diluted waste water into a watercourse like this is something we do everything in our power to avoid -- but the alternative would mean homes suffering internal flooding.”

SEE MORE: Petition calls to stop waste disposal in River Test

A Southern Water spokesperson said: “As part of an emergency plan to prevent flooding, we are preparing overland pipes to remove groundwater and prevent it causing internal flooding of homes, schools and businesses. The plan will only be implemented if exceptionally high levels of groundwater overload the sewage system, causing water and sewage to enter people’s homes.

“The geology of the Chilbolton area is highly vulnerable. The plan – drawn up with co-operation from the Environment Agency – may see us pump ground water out of the sewer and drainage network and into nearby watercourses as a last resort. An impact assessment is currently being carried out and samples from the network and from the area where releases may be made, are being collected for analysis.”

The residents have been rallying against this move with concerns over ecology.

A petition created on to stop Southern Water from pumping wastewater to the river has so far received more than 1,000 signatures in just more than 24 hours.

Meanwhile, a resident who wanted to stay anonymous called it great news for the community that Southern Water decided to postpone the pumping.

"This is fantastic news. We finally did it," she said.

"I also want to thank the Advertiser for sharing our concerns and stopping them from pumping wastewater for now. But you never know, they might start doing it on Monday."