Wilmington homeowners kick up stink over long wait to fix collapsed sewer

This Is Local London: Peter Scott. Peter Scott.

A COLLAPSED sewer that has caused 80 days of smelly hell for a group of Wilmington homeowners could now cause chaos on one of the county’s busiest roads.

Around 40 residents have been left dealing with a horrific stench since first reporting the problem to Thames Water in early September.

Now they face the sight of sanitary towels, condoms and nappies seeping up through the ground.

Since the ordeal began on September 7, a giant machine called a gully sucker has sat permanently in the quiet cul-de-sac, working around the clock sucking away sewage from nearby homes served by the damaged sewer.

Last week Thames Water announced the collapsed sewer is somewhere under the A2.

As News Shopper went to print on Monday, engineers were preparing to shut two lanes of the main road - used by between 116,000 and 125,000 motorists every day - to use underground cameras to trace the fault.

Peter Scott, of The Close (CORR), can bear the stench no more and has ordered Thames Water to remove the machine from outside his home.

The 28-year-old said: "The gully suckers were there 24 hours a day parked outside our house and draining it.

"Thames Water actually came round to the house and offered us £200 compensation for having 80 metres of piping outside our house and right through the property.

"It has been smelly at all times of the day, through day and night."

Mr Scott says it was not until 68 days after he first reported the matter to Thames Water that someone spoke to him.

The landscape gardener added: "They could at least have spoken to us after 10 days and shown us some respect and said we need to use your property and spoken to us face-to-face.

"The compensation offer is just an insult to injury."

When the gully sucker was taken away from The Close, sewage began to seep through the ground and sanitary towels, condoms and nappies are among the disgusting items seen lying in a six-inch deep puddle of filth.

Thames Water has now moved its operation to a field in nearby Edwin Road and a 200-metre silent pipe is siphoning waste to a gully sucker there.

A Thames Water spokeswoman said: "We need to have a tanker to take away sewage from The Close to prevent the properties in this street flooding with raw sewage.

"The collapsed sewer causing the issues is under the A2 and therefore we have had to gain permission from the local highway authority and from Connect Plus, who manage the M25.

"Unfortunately, this will not resolve the situation. We will then need to design the repair and then wait again for permission to access to the road to get this job done.

"We are really sorry for the length of time this is taking but we are doing everything we can to get it done as soon as possible."

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