A woman has spoken of her “nightmare” as a sewage of tampons, wet wipes and faeces poured into her home three times in a week.
Lesley Lacey-Smith, 64, said she has been forced to sleep on a neighbour’s sofa in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic as sludge and water flooded through the main drain into her garden.
The artist from Margate in Kent said the problem began earlier this month when a resident called her one morning, saying: “Don’t look outside.”
But when she looked, she saw tampons, wet wipes and faeces in her garden.
She said: “It was so disgusting.
“I’ve got a main drain in my garden and I’m technically the last house in the row as the one on the end is new.
“So I had everybody’s sewage from the other houses coming up and flooding into my house.
“The reality of that smell, there is nothing like it. I’m never going to stop washing my things.
“One night I slept in the house when the sewage was downstairs and all I kept dreaming of was sewage and rats.”
Ms Lacey-Smith said she has been “massively affected by this”, but despite it she has continued to be nice to her neighbours and “not cause too much of a fuss”.
The woman said she called Southern Water to solve the issue, but eventually cleaned up the mess herself the first time it happened.
“I wasn’t going to sit there with all this sewage in my house,” she said.
“I thought by the time I wait for Southern Water to get here and a cleaning company to come, I might as well just do it.”
Despite the water company coming out to pump the drain and look at what caused the problem, the same thing happened again just five days later.
A cleaning company was sent and spent seven hours in her property, but failed to get all the waste out, the woman added.
Ms Lacey-Smith said: “I went round with a tissue afterwards and it got clogged up with sewage, it wasn’t clean.
“This is the problem – if I lived in a mansion or a half a million pound house it would all be sorted straight away and properly.
“But because I’m living in a road viewed as poor, things don’t happen quickly. There is no recycling here, the road needs fixing and there are issues with some of the houses. It’s not right.”
Two days later, a third sewage incident saw more sludge pour through her home.
She said: “I’m not a natural complainer and I’m not a money-grabber – all I want is my fridge replaced, which was damaged by water, and anything else that’s been damaged – but I need to highlight this should it happen to others here.
“I just hope I’m compensated after all of this.
“Fortunately, I’m renovating and so thank God I didn’t have a new floor down already.”
Southern Water apologised to residents for the disruption and said the blockage was caused by a large piece of wood found lodged in the sewer.
A spokesman said: “We’ve used tankers to manage flows and our Rainbow team is assisting residents who have been affected,” they said.
“Access to the relevant part of the sewer could only be gained from railway land and we needed to ask permission from Network Rail to work which meant this went on longer than we would have liked.
“We hope householders will understand these exceptional circumstances.”