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Southwark Council - Raw Sewage since November

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Tuesday 18 January 2011 6.53pm
Hello All,

Seeking a little advice. Back in November Thames Water dug up a public path at the rear of my rented property to fix a low water pressure in my house. In doing so they appeared to break a soil pipe.

Since then my neighbour's house has been having sewage backing up into her property. Seemingly she has called Southwark several times, but the best they have done is send Dyno Rod out.

I only realised the issue was still present when I returned in December to find the hole at the rear of the property and in it around 50 cm of raw sewage there. I spoke to me neighbours who said they have been calling Southwark since November and said the sewage has flooded onto the pavement etc.

So on the 30th December I logged a repair with Southwark. A week later when I was having some bathroom works done the broken soil pipe caused the system to back up and flood the downstairs of my house with raw sewage (6th Jan). I had an emergency plumber onsite at my expense within 15 minutes and he said the issue is outside the property, caused by the broken soil pipe in his opinion. However he warned it can and will happen again if no one fixes it. It was also apparent someone had been in my back garden from jumping over the wall as they had un covered the man hole (was covered with pebbles and a plant) and the plumber reported that the pebbles were in the waste pipe. No real damage was caused (floor might need replacing though).

Southwark came out within 2 hours in the form of a plumber, who looked at the hole and said, "its a broken pipe mate", I will log a report and it will get passed onto someone who can fix it. 3 hours after he left I called Southwark Repairs and they said the report was logged and has been passed onto the correct department to resolve.

5 days later I called (11th). No news they reported but will hear something soon. I then rang 2 days later and I was told that its been passed over on the 11th. When I commented that they said it before they refuted it and said the report sat in their inbox but they didnt pass it over for no reason!

I then rang on the 13th and they said that the issue would be flagged again to the department. Then when I called today she said the call centre would raise it with their team leader and can I wait for a second. 2 minutes later the line went dead.

So the situation is that the house can still be flooded with sewage, there is still a horrible smell in the public footpath of raw sewage and Southwark are doing nothing. The public footpath is used constantly by families and children etc.

I have written a complaint to Southwark Council, but has anyone else had similar experiences and do you have any ideas how I can speed the call centre up to actually getting someone out onsite to fix this as it has been like this since November!
Tuesday 18 January 2011 8.59pm
Where do you live - I'll put you in touch with one of your cllrs.
Wednesday 19 January 2011 9.20am
Why is it Southwark Council's problem - do they own the land?
I would have thought it is Thames Water's responsibility if they broke the pipe initially and if it is not within the curtilage of a house.
Wednesday 19 January 2011 10.45am
Councillors can make representations to other parties, not just to the local authority.
Wednesday 19 January 2011 10.45am
Could southwark councils environmental health dept., not force the owners/thames water to repair it double quick?
Wednesday 19 January 2011 5.32pm
Its Southwark council run estate with leaseholders like ourselves (we pay a management fee yearly) and they maintain the sewage pipes in the local area until they get to the thames water pipes which are 80m or so away.

As its not a Thames Water asset, they will not repair the damage (normal practise I am led to believe). They would discuss funding it with Southwark but I have no idea how Southwark would ever be able to state it was there fault as it could of been broken before but the soil just soak up the sewage?

Graham that would be great if you could - the postcode is SE1 5XR.

Thanks all
Wednesday 19 January 2011 8.57pm
Hi The Setchel Estate is in Grange Ward try any of the cllrs, or visit the Surgery every Saturday at Market Place in the Blue (SE16 3BU) 10.30 - 11.30 am.
Wednesday 19 January 2011 9.45pm
Brilliant thanks Graham. Will try all 3 of them tomorrow morning!

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