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Sheppey family plagued by recurring river of sewage in garden

A dad has hit out at Southern Water after his garden was repeatedly flooded with raw sewage.

Neil Clapson’s family have had to move out of their home in Warden Bay, Sheppey, three times due to a river of foul water appearing.

Neil Clapson with his partner Daisy Taylor and two-year-old son, Oscar, at their home in Warden Bay
Neil Clapson with his partner Daisy Taylor and two-year-old son, Oscar, at their home in Warden Bay

The 45-year-old, who lives in Seasalter Close with his girlfriend Daisy Taylor and their two-year-old son Oscar, said: “We moved into the property in April 2018, pretty much straight away we had a sewage flood.

“We’ve had five incidents of sewage flooding, three within six months.

“When it happens, every second of my life is spent on emailing and phoning Southern Water. It’s literally a nightmare.”

He added: “We have up to three to four inches of raw sewage in the garden. It gets to a point where the smell comes through into the house.

“On three occasions my partner and my son have had to move out of our house and in with her mum.”

The overflowing manhole cover at the family's home
The overflowing manhole cover at the family's home

Mr Clapson said the most recent flooding happened on June 14 and was not cleared until more than a week later.

“We’ve got no flooding at the minute, but it’s following a pattern where it’s becoming more regular,” he said.

Mr Clapson, who works at the Morrisons Distribution Centre in Sittingbourne, said the problem occurs whenever an anti-flood device in his neighbour’s garden gets blocked.

The sewage then releases at the lowest point, which is a manhole cover in his back garden.

Each time Southern Water unclogs it, but Mr Clapson fears it will continue to happen.

The overflowing manhole cover at the family's home
The overflowing manhole cover at the family's home

He said: “It’s just like a river. It does eventually get pumped out but I can’t believe Southern Water thinks it’s acceptable for us to have raw sewage in our garden for up to 10 days.

“Now I have damp marks against my exterior wall.

“We can’t let our lad play outside as the patio is dangerous because all of the underneath cement has been washed away and, potentially, we could be flooded again next week because the issue has not been fixed.”

Mr Clapson said a housing specialist said the value of his property could be reduced by up to £50,000 because of the issue.

“I just want a permanent solution soon to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he said.

The overflowing manhole cover at the family's home
The overflowing manhole cover at the family's home

A spokesman for Southern Water said: “We’re sorry our customer has had this unpleasant experience.

“We repaired a pump close to the property and arranged for a clean-up of the garden using tankers to manage flows while the work was being carried out.”

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