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Gateshead Road, Borehamwood, residents urge Thames Water to help with block water main
3:18pm Tuesday 5th February 2013 in News
Residents Yvette DelRoy, Tony Macken, Suzi Ford and Roy and Theresa Blackwood are all angry over the burst mains
Families left knee-deep in a “fountain of sludge and filth” when a water main burst three times want compensation from their water company.
Angry residents in Gateshead Road, Borehamwood, are also calling on Thames Water to put a camera down the drain to find the root of the problem before it happens again.
The householders were woken at 4am last Wednesday to find a mountain of excrement, tampons and toilet paper spewing from their drains into their gardens - for the second time that week.
Firemen had already been alerted to the issue, which first happened over Christmas, and were wading through around 15 inches of water when Yvette DelRoy rushed downstairs in horror.
The 51-year-old said: “There was a mountain of human excrement pumping from the drains and it made me feel sick. What if that gets into our tap water?
“I am appalled by this situation because it is so obviously a health hazard. I am expecting it to happen again but Thames Water have no empathy - we are living with a ticking time bomb.
“I looked over at my neighbour's garden and they were knee deep in a fountain of sludge and filth, I was ankle deep.
“It was sickening - it was basically a pond of toilet filth gushing from our front to back gardens.
“The day after it first happened, I slipped and then had to scoop more off my garden furniture.
“It smelt so pungent and disgusting, there cannot be many things worse than that.”
After the main first broke at the end of December, Miss DelRoy and her neighbour, father-of-two Tony Macken, phoned the Thames Water emergency hotline to seek help.
But the pair were horrified when contractors turned up 12 hours after the leak began to clear the blockage with a “measly pea-shooter” - which did not work.
Workers also began clearing the mess, but householders claim no disinfectant was used and dried bits of toilet paper are still stuck to their patio and garden furniture.
One resident, Roy Evans, said it took seven days for the sewage in his garden to be cleaned and retired post-office worker Roy Blackwood, 75, took to clearing the mound from his lawn by himself.
People were initially told the problem was caused by rags thrown down the toilet - which have now been cleared - but are now questioning why the main has since burst twice.
The second time the pipe burst, residents claim they waited nearly two days for workers from the water company to come and remove the sewage.
And despite their pleas, they claim Thames Water are yet to respond to their email complaints or phone calls begging them to investigate the cause of the matter.
The force of the leak destroyed Mr Macken’s gate and Miss DelRoy has been dreading assessing the damage in her shed - where she stores her tumble dryer, craft kits and garden decking.
Mr Macken, who is 44 and lives with his wife and their two daughters, said: “I am aggravated because we have been told to claim on our own house insurance for the damages.
“Firemen have been fantastic in pumping the water away but that is not their job - the water board should be more competent, this is not on.
“There are still bits of sewage in the front and back garden. We keep expecting to wake up to find toilet muck spouting from the drains again. It has become the norm.”
Roy Evans has a 12-year-old daughter but will no longer allow her friends to come over due to the sewage. He has now issued a formal complaint to Thames Water.
He added: “The next thing we know there will be rats. We should not be left in these conditions.”
The Borehamwood and Elstree Times is awaiting comment from Thames Water.