Man’s home flooded with sewage for 40 YEARS as toilet paper washes up in garden

A pensioner has had to endure 40 years of sewage flooding his home due to an “inadequate” sewerage.

Brian Barber, 79, said his home in the Hempsted area of Gloucester first flooded on the first day after moving in some 41 years ago.

Since then, he and his wife have had to put up with the issue once or twice a year.

And, despite asking for help from water supply company Severn Trent, the couple believe the problem will get worse as hundreds of new homes are set to be connected to the “antiquated” sewage system.

Mr Barber said there is a pinch point in the pipe under the road near the local post office, reports GloucestershireLive.

And when it rains heavily it blocks there and the system backs up to his home.

This means sewage overflows in his back garden and he is left with black stains on the ground and small pieces of toilet paper to clear up every time it floods.

The problem is so bad that they have planned their lives around the weather.

If the forecast is for heavy rain they stay home out of fear it will flood again.

Mr Barber said: “The complete sewage system in Hempsted is well past its sell by date.

“When I moved into the place there were 100 houses or so, now there are about 4,000 all meeting the same sewerage point.

“Purely due to geography and gravity, I’m at the lowest point around the place.

“When we get slightly heavy rain, I get water coming up from the sewage manhole at the back of the house.

“The sewage from my house goes uphill to the Hempsted Post Office then down along the road to the Docks then way back along Bristol Road and finally into the sewage treatment works.

“The problem is most of the sewage from my area goes to one hole near the post office to go down to the Docks.

“But that hole isn’t big enough because when the water gets there it blocks.”

Mr Barber also said another problem is that a lot homes have nine inch pipes feeding into six inch pipes.

“The second day I moved into my house, we had a thunderstorm and water came into my house.

“But then at least twice a year since then I’ve had water coming into my house.

“Severn Trent finally put a heavy manhole cover at the front of my house which stopped the water coming out there.

“But it’s got to go somewhere, now instead it comes out of the manhole at the back of my house.

“When the water goes down, it goes black and then I get little dots of white all around my back garden which is toilet paper.”

Mr Barber said he thought the new housing development at Hill Farm would be connected directly to the sewage treatment works some 300 metres away.

However, the plan is to connect it to the “antiquated” system.

A Severn Trent spokesperson said they were sorry to hear about the issues Mr Barber has experienced, and understand that flooding of any kind can be distressing.

“When we’ve been out to investigate, we’ve found our network is operating as we’d expect, however the problems have been caused by sewer misuse, where we’ve found a build-up of wipes in the sewer pipe.

“We’ve also found that hydraulic overload happens, which is when sudden, heavy rain occurs that can’t get into the network quick enough, causing rain water flooding which then subsides.

“We’ve since carried out surveys to help understand why this is happening and will continue to investigate this.

“To help prevent further issues, we also now regularly cleanse the sewer pipe to ensure it is clear and free flowing, with no build-up of wipes, fats, sanitary products that have been incorrectly put into the network.

“We’re actively working towards a solution to reduce the flooding risk for Mr Barber and will continue to work closely with him on this.”

City Councillor Paul Toleman had requested a planning condition that the proposed 185 homes at Hill Farm should be connected directly to the nearby Netheridge sewage treatment works rather than the antiquated system.

He requested this after complaints, from residents including Mr Barber, that sewage was appearing in their gardens.

“I considered this a reasonable request which would prevent more unwanted sewage coming up in Hempsted residents’ gardens. For some reason, I fail to understand, Severn Trent refused to accept this,” he said.

The planning application has since been approved on appeal.

But Severn Trent said they do not have the right to refuse connections for new developments, and ultimately it is the local planning authority (LPA) who decides if a development can go ahead.

“However, Severn Trent will always seek to work with a developer, the LPA, and all other key stakeholders to find ways for approved development to proceed without any adverse impact on our customers or the environment,” a spokesperson said.