Pensioners forced out of their home by 'flood' of sewage - and say Thames Water blamed them

19 May 2024, 08:40

Patricia and Buster Price
Patricia and Buster Price. Picture: Handout

By Kit Heren

A couple in their 70s have been forced out of their home by a ‘flood’ of sewage - and say their water company blamed them.

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Buster and Patricia Price have had to leave their home in Chislehurst, in the south-east London suburbs, after sewage came pouring out of their ground-floor toilet on Wednesday.

The shocking incident took place when Thames Water workmen were unblocking a sewage pipe in a nearby road, Buster said.

He added that the workmen themselves had admitted that they were responsible for the leak - but that Thames Water told him it was because a pipe in the toilet was wrongly placed.

"It’s absolute hogwash,” Buster shot back. “We’ve lived here for 16 years and never had a problem, so why now?"

Thames Water claimed in response that there was a blockage in a shared pipe, which caused the flood.

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Buster and Patricia have moved in with their son, who lives nearby, while the problem gets sorted out.

The 70-year-old said that at their age, he and his wife “shouldn’t have to be sofa-surfing” with their son.

To make matters worse, the couple’s insurance has an exclusion clause for damage caused by outside contractors, so they won’t get any compensation immediately.

Buster said the insurance company has hired a law firm on their behalf to work out the damages - but they have no idea when they will get any payout.

"We’ve been left in limbo - we’ve got absolutely no idea when we will be able to move back in," he said.

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In the meantime, Thames Water have brought in a team to pump out the foul water from the house. But the cleaners they sent have twice not managed to complete the job, so there is still excrement around the ground floor and even in the oven, Buster said.

"It’s a health hazard, and the smell is horrendous,” he said. “It’s disgraceful how they’ve treated us."

A Thames Water spokesperson said: "We are sorry to hear about the internal flooding. Our engineer visited the property and found the blockage to be in the shared pipe, which caused the internal flooding on Wednesday.

"Our team arranged a complete clean-up of the ground floor. However, any claims would need to be directed to home insurance."