Published: 06:00, 18 March 2021
| Updated: 14:10, 18 March 2021
A horrified homeowner says she is living in a nightmare after sewage poured into her house - leaving a trail of tampons, wet wipes and faeces.
Lesley Lacey-Smith, from Margate, says the sludge and water flooded through from a main drain in her garden, pouring into her property and out onto the street.
But it was just the start of her grim ordeal, with the same thing happening twice more in just a week, despite Southern Water’s attempts to resolve the problem.
The 64-year-old, who is an artist, was forced to leave her Setterfield Road property and sleep on a neighbour’s couch.
She says it all started on March 4 when another resident called her one morning saying “don’t look outside”.
“Of course I did and there were tampons, wet wipes, faeces - it was so disgusting,” she said.
“I’ve got a main drain in my garden and I’m technically the last house in the row as the one on the end is new. So I had everybody’s sewage from the other houses coming up and flooding into my house.
“The reality of that smell, there is nothing like it. I’m never going to stop washing my things.
“One night I slept in the house when the sewage was downstairs and all I kept dreaming of was sewage and rats.”
Ms Lacey-Smith says she called Southern Water, but cleaned up the mess herself the first time it happened.
“I wasn’t going to sit there with all this sewage in my house,” she said.
“I thought by the time I wait for Southern Water to get here and a cleaning company to come, I might as well just do it.”
Despite the water company coming out to pump the drain and look at what caused the problem, five days later, the same thing happened again.
“I spent the whole day sitting on the street, calling and calling,” said Ms Lacey-Smith.
“I wasn’t going to clean it up that time. It was a nightmare.”
A cleaning company was sent who she says spent seven hours in her property, but failed to get all the waste out.
“I went round with a tissue afterwards and it got clogged up with sewage, it wasn’t clean,” she said.
“This is the problem - if I lived in a mansion or a half a million pound house it would all be sorted straight away and properly.
“But because I’m living in a road viewed as poor, things don’t happen quickly. There is no recycling here, the road needs fixing and there are issues with some of the houses. It’s not right.”
Much to her dismay, two days after the second sewage incident, yet more started pouring through her home.
“To be fair to Southern Water, they were trying, but then a woman from there called me on Saturday and said ‘are you ok?’ and I just broke down in tears.
“She’s been amazing.
“I’m not a natural complainer and I’m not a money-grabber - all I want is my fridge replaced, which was damaged by water, and anything else that’s been damaged - but I need to highlight this should it happen to others here.”
“Fortunately, I’m renovating and so thank God I didn’t have a new floor down already.”
A Southern Water spokesman apologised to residents for the disruption. They say the blockage was caused by a large piece of wood found lodged in the sewer.
“We’ve used tankers to manage flows and our Rainbow team is assisting residents who have been affected,” they said.
“Access to the relevant part of the sewer could only be gained from railway land and we needed to permission from Network Rail to work which meant this went on longer than we would have liked.
“We hope householders will understand these exceptional circumstances.”