Published: 12:35, 09 March 2018
Tonnes of sewage has poured into homes after a waste water pipe burst.
Torrents of pungent liquid spewed into two houses in Lucerne Drive, Whitstable, after the pipe erupted in the early hours.
Among those affected were the Peters family, whose home was left under inches of water containing waste from toilets, sinks, showers.
Homeowners Charlene and Justin were woken at about 6am by a loud bang and the sound of running water.
"We just thought it was pouring rain," said Charlene, 30. "The dog was barking, but we told it to be quiet and went back to sleep.
"Then a fireman knocked on the door, and asked if our garden had been flooded."
The couple looked outside to see the lawn - where their children usually play - a foot under murky brown water.
As the foul liquid gushed into their home, they raced to save as much as they could - including their pet chicken from a coop near the burst pipe outside.
"A sinkhole formed in the garden, where all the water was coming out of the pipe," said Charlene.
"It was coming into the conservatory and into the kitchen.
"So much is destroyed. It was heartbreaking when we found out it was waste water, meaning everything it touched needs throwing away.
"It makes you feel so disgusting. We're going to need to replace so many things, including carpets and furniture which are soaked. And we're not insured for this."
Charlene home-schools her children, Tyler, Cheyenne and Cailyn.
"It's so disruptive," she said. "The kids haven't been able to do any home-schooling today. When the house is like this, it affects their education.
"We don't want to move out of our home. Especially as we got a rescue dog just before Christmas, and don't want to move him."
But the family praised Southern Water - which manages waste water in the area - for its fast response and consideration throughout their ordeal.
Southern Water spokesman Nicola Crichton said: “We received a call from the emergency services about flooding to two homes and a garden in Lucerne Drive, Whitstable early this morning, caused by a burst rising main.
"We immediately dispatched our specialist crew to site who are currently working as quickly and safely as possible to fix the burst pipe.
"We are continuing to work closely with the emergency services and we are using tankers to manage flows so the local properties can continue to use their facilities as normal.
"Support is being provided to our customers affected and we are arranging temporary accommodation for them while we carry out a full clean-up to the homes and garden.
"We would like to thank those affected for their patience while we carry out this emergency work, and apologise for any inconvenience caused."
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