Published: 00:01, 17 July 2014
Residents who live in constant fear of their houses and gardens flooding have hit out at Southern Water, saying they have been failed by the company.
Homeowners in Castlemere Avenue, Queenborough, faced raw sewage running through the streets last Tuesday evening.
It followed a heavy downpour, but those who live there say worse weather earlier this year didn’t create a problem and blame a fault with the Rushenden Road pumping station.
They say Southern Water has previously promised it would not happen again.
The firm did send representatives out but residents say it was more than three hours after the flood first started.
In the past it’s been so bad, people had to move out of their homes and although this time it didn’t reach the houses, their gardens were affected.
There was bad flooding in 2012 and 2010.
This time there was also a problem as an ambulance had to be called to one house, and witnesses said paramedics had to wade through the sewage and later get back into the vehicle, contaminating it.
Carrieann Gibbons, who has lived there for three years, says the problem started last week after she saw the drain ‘explode’ in the nearby car park, which is where it always starts.
She started knocking on neighbours’ doors and everyone worked to try to stop water getting inside their homes.
“It’s not very nice when you have got everyone else’s waste flooding your garden – there was all sorts down the path,” the 27-year-old said.
“I’ve got two young children and they can’t go out now – I dare not let them in the grass because you don’t know what’s in it. It’s always at the back of your mind it’s going to happen – something needs to be done.”
Carole and Eric Tress have been worst affected in the past and said it is now a case of thinking ‘not again’ whenever it begins.
Mr Tress, 70, said: “I’m angry to think we have got letters here from everyone saying it’s not going to happen again as they have sorted the problem and it’s happened again.
“Everyone worked hard and it didn’t come into the houses [this time] but there was raw untreated sewage in the gardens.”
Paula Telford, 49, said she’s angry at the lack of a visit by someone official from Southern Water.
“It’s just ridiculous – it must cost them an absolute fortune every time,” she added. “You would think they have learned by now – it’s the smell and the mess and everything.”
MP Gordon Henderson’s officer manager Jess McMahon visited the residents on Wednesday morning on his behalf.
He was in London on parliamentary business and she said she spoke to those affected and offered advice.
She said: “We have been in regular contact with Southern Water about the situation at Castlemere Avenue. However, they cannot confirm the cause of the flooding until they have investigated the pumping station.
“Following a previous incident, Mr Henderson was assured that the situation would not reoccur and so we are pressing for answers as to why this happened and hopefully resolve the matter for the future.”
A Southern Water spokesman said they helped people clean up after the flooding.
“It appears our pumping station in Rushenden Road was overwhelmed by the heavy rain,” they added. “We are investigating what happened.”