Flood misery: Homes suffer damage as sewer bursts

PUBLISHED: 12:33 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:49 11 May 2010

FIRE-FIGHTERS get to work in Jeffrey Close, Royston. 3057DW068

FIRE-FIGHTERS get to work in Jeffrey Close, Royston. 3057DW068

MORE than a dozen houses suffered flood damage after heavy rainfall caused a sewer to burst on Monday. Four fire crews and two engineers from Anglian Water were called to Jeffrey Close in Royston, after raw sewage overflowed from a manhole. At least five

MARY NICHOLS sweeps the water away from the front of her home in Housman Avenue. 3057DW141

MORE than a dozen houses suffered flood damage after heavy rainfall caused a sewer to burst on Monday.

Four fire crews and two engineers from Anglian Water were called to Jeffrey Close in Royston, after raw sewage overflowed from a manhole.

At least five houses in the cul-de-sac suffered flood damage and several properties in Housman Avenue, Burns Road, and Chaucer Road were also affected.

Yvonne Cole, whose house, garage, and garden were flooded, described the moment the sewer overflowed.

ADAM and Jodie Manning survey the scene in their back garden. 3057DW19

She said: "I was in my bathroom, painting when it happened.

"It was a huge fountain."

Terry Ryan, who lives across the road, added: "It was about four feet high at full flow."

And Mr Ryan's wife Sandra said: "This happens every year.

"Last year we had sanitary towels floating along."

Jodie and Adam Manning only bought their house in Jeffrey Close six weeks ago and were supposed to be moving in on Saturday.

Mr Manning, whose back garden was swamped, said: "The first I knew was when I smelled sewage and then I went out in the garden and I was up to my knees in human waste."

Debbie McCann, also of Jeffrey Close, was not at home when the flood struck. Her back garden, kitchen, and dining room were affected.

Mrs McCann said: "A neighbour called and said you had better get back quickly as there is raw sewage flowing in the garden."

And Mary Nichols, of Housman Avenue, had a lucky escape after her back garden was engulfed.

She said: "I came home for lunch and if I hadn't it would have been in the house.

"It was just on the doorsill and I was able to sweep the water away."

Two fire engines from Royston attended, along with two support vehicles from Hitchin, carrying extra pumping equipment and sandbags.

A spokesman for Herts Fire and Rescue Service said about 14 properties had been affected.

"About 50 residents were affected, but nobody was injured.

"Pumping equipment was used to drain the water."

A number of concerned residents called Anglian Water, which sent contractors to jet out the drains.

Royston's MP Oliver Heald has called for a full report on the incident.

He said: "I asked Anglian Water to be in touch with my constituents so that they are aware of the inconvenience and distress this has caused.

"I can think of nothing worse than to have your home flooded by effluent, and I hope that urgent measures will be taken to ensure that this does not happen again.

"In the meantime, I shall do all I can to assist the affected families."

A spokesman for Anglian Water said: "We would like to apologise for any distress and inconvenience.

"We are assisting the property owners as best we can, and our loss adjusters will be visiting all residents pro-actively to help them progress with any appropriate compensation.

"The heavy deluge was certainly a contributory factor to the flooding.

"However, there was also a substantial blockage in the sewer, which was a build up of fats, oils and greases."

He said Anglian Water spent £5 million-a-year on drains blocked by such materials.

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