Furious residents have hit out at a water company after being left submerged in sewage and wastewater for almost three weeks.
Households in the Copperfield area of Lydd on Romney Marsh have been combatting flooding since Storm Ciaran hit the area at the beginning of the month.
Residents on the estate say that at least 30 people are affected by the issues – which Southern Water have blamed on issues with a water pumping station.
Moreover, some longstanding householders say flooding issues have been going on for longer than 20 years.
Michael Taylor told KentOnline that the situation was so bad he had been forced to drive to nearby supermarkets just to use the toilet.
“Before they bought the portaloos in, I had to drive half an hour just to get to a toilet I can use, because anything that uses water at home overflows immediately,” he said.
“We have managed to wash once or twice in the garden using a hose but not everyone can do that – we have plenty of elderly and vulnerable people around here.
“It’s affecting everyone’s mental health. There’s no timeframe for when it will be fixed, and at some points we are having to paddle through six inches of sewage to get to our front door.”
Southern Water, which is responsible for drainage in the area, has brought portable washing facilities and toilets to provide cover for affected residents.
However, a number of locals say they are unable or unwilling to use the facilities.
Philippa Ormerod lives on the estate with her daughter Eve, who has a number of advanced needs and uses a wheelchair.
“I had poo floating on my driveway last week, and my driveway is collapsing because of all the water and sewerage that is building up,” she said.
“They have put a toilet vehicle out front but my daughter wouldn’t be able to use that – I have to wash and dress her myself and there is no way it will work.
“I did phone them regarding someone else’s poo floating along my driveway and they did come out and disinfect the area, but that’s almost beside the point now – I’m scared to take Eve out in her wheelchair as I’m worried she will go straight through the driveway and into whatever’s beneath it.”
David Hazelwood, who has been living in the area for 23 years, says the way residents have been treated was “disgusting”.
“It feels ridiculous that more hasn’t been done. Of those 30 people [affected], about 25 of them are elderly or vulnerable. It’s like being in a third-world country – and they still want us to pay their bills!
“I’ve lived here since 2000 and we have had flooding and overflow at some point every year since I moved, but nothing on this scale.
“They say it’s to do with the pumping station but then surely it’s not fit for purpose and they need to do something about it?
“By right, we should be reimbursed for these three weeks from our water bills. It’s disgusting, it really is.”
A spokesperson for Southern Water said: “Due to the consistent heavy rainfall, the ground in the Copperfields area of Lydd has become saturated and the local drains and sewers inundated with surface water run-off.
“This is putting significant pressure on our local wastewater pumping station.
“While our nearby Derings site is working as it should, it has struggled to keep up with demand. That is why specialist teams and six 4,000 gallon tankers have been in the area since Monday, October 30 to support the removal of flows and ease pressure on the network.”