Raw Sewage in our Garden!

On May 25th, John noticed sewage bubbling up from one of our outside drains.  We were just about to leave on a trip so I made an appointment with British Gas Home Care for the following morning, and asked our good friend Pam to wait in for them.  She very kindly agreed and Dyno-Rod (subcontractors to Home Care) showed up as promised early next day (May 26th).

Dyno-Rod cleared out our drains but realised that there was a blockage in the main sewer, so they called Severn Trent (our water and sewage company).  Pam heard the conversation where Dyno-Rod explained the situation to the Severn Trent people over the phone.  Dyno-Rod told Pam that Severn Trent would be out to fix the problem.  Everything seemed to be under control.

On Sunday (May 27th) there were strong thunderstorms over Church Stretton.

On Monday (May 28th) Pam came to our house to check if everything was OK.  It wasn’t.  More water had come down the sewer, a manhole had been lifted and sewage had flooded out into our garden.  She immediately called Home Care again and arranged for another visit from Dyno-Rod for the following day.

We cut our visit to London short and caught an earlier train back to Church Stretton on Tuesday (May 29th).  We arrived back while Dyno-Rod were still working.  Again they called Severn Trent, who claimed they had not received the call on May 26th and therefore had no record of this case. This time, we were assured of a quick visit and given a case number.

Severn Trent/Amey came quickly that afternoon and ascertained that the blockage was indeed off our property and in their sewers.  They said they didn’t have the correct piece of equipment to reach the blockage, but that a larger vehicle would be dispatched to take care of it as soon as possible. They also said that the sewage was draining slowly, and the water level did seem to be going down in the drain, so it was OK to use the toilet and continue with domestic water use.

That evening we had more thunderstorms and the manhole was lifted again.  This time the sewage filled the flower beds and flooded onto the lawn.  Since then there has been a continuous flow of sewage out of one of our drains.  It’s worse at times when our neighbours are taking showers, etc., but it never stops completely.

Some of this sewage got under the house and there is a bad smell indoors.

It is now six days since Severn Trent visited and 10 days since the problem started and there is still raw sewage flowing out of our drains, across the patio and over the garden.  The video shows the extent of the problem.

On the 30th we phoned Severn Trent for a progress report.  They contacted Amey who said that the job had been suspended at the “end of the shift”. We were promised that it would be done “today”.  We were also told that they had to work at night because they were accessing the sewer from a busy road.

The road in question is Shrewsbury Road in Church Stretton.  It is a B road. Other utilities are able to access it in the middle of the day, why can’t the water/sewer people do the same?

Since then we have gone to bed each night hoping for a solution. But we have woken each morning to find that nothing has been done. Every morning we’ve called Severn Trent or Amey for a progress report.  Every time we have been assured that “it will be done today”.

But it hasn’t been done and we’re running out of patience. Nothing has happened for over 5 days.  No-one phoned with an explanation, an apology or even an excuse.  We had to phone up each day to get yet another stonewalling “I’m really sorry for your situation, but it’s been scheduled for tonight and I’m sure they will come out this time”.

We can’t ask the many neighbours whose sewage comes through our garden to stop using the toilet, stop taking showers, stop doing dishes and washing, can we?  Meanwhile, their effluent is polluting our property and causing a potential health hazard.

Today (June 4th) I was put through to Lauren in the Severn Trent Escalation Team who has promised yet again to get something done today.  We’ll see.

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