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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Homes Run Foul with Sewage Damage

A WATER company has apologised after raw sewage flooded into homeowners’ gardens and it took engineers more than 13 hours to respond.

Residents in Castle Dore, Freshbrook, frantically called the firm at 11pm on Friday night after they noticed the manhole cover was bubbling over – spewing untreated human waste into the street.

But it was not until 12.40pm on Saturday afternoon that an engineer, who had to be dispatched from London, arrived to start clearing the blockage.

The leak affected 10 gardens in total and even left one resident, Arlene Carson, 58, and her friend Margaret Pitt, 56, wading into 3ft of rancid water with buckets in a desperate bid to stop it flowing into the house.

Arlene, a business performance manager at a law firm, said: “It was awful – my garden was knee-deep in human excrement and raw sewage was in everybody’s back garden’s.

“Neither Margaret or I had wellies or rubber gloves so we had to roll our trousers up and go in. We were throwing bucket-loads over the fence but it just did not stop.

“I was frightened it was going to get into the conservatory and even when we came back in there was the smell of faeces. We were getting conflicting reports from the operatives at Thames Water because they were telling different people different things.

“They said they could send someone out that evening but it would be noisy or they would send someone out at 8.30am but I called them at 10.30am and they said the engineers were on their way.

“We all felt we were getting fobbed off by Thames Water.”

Neighbour Natalie Moss, 26, said she could not let her three young children, McCauley, nine, Aaliyah, seven, and Jaycee, 18 months, out to play in the garden after their toys were ruined.

She said: “It was everywhere – all round the trampoline and their toys. I tried to pick some of it up but the grass was too wet.

“I’m not going to be able to let them out for a few days at least.”

A spokesman for Thames Water said there would now be an internal investigation into the incident and work would be carried out to restore the damage.

She said: “We are really sorry for the unacceptable delay in getting an engineer out to clear this blockage.

“A full investigation will be carried out to find out why this happened.

“Our focus now is on clearing the blockage and getting people's gardens back to how they were. Any claims for compensation will be dealt with on an individual basis.”

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