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Residents of Kelham Road in Newark are frustrated with Severn Trent’s response after sewage flooded properties following Storm Henk





Residents have been left frustrated with the response to sewage flooding their property.

Earlier this month Storm Henk led to widespread flooding across the district, causing rivers to burst their banks and drainage channels to become overwhelmed.

Sharon and John Cox, live on Kelham Road in Newark, but were faced with a nightmare scenario when drains on their property began to back up and overflow, flooding the driveway with sewage.

Sharon and John Cox of Kelham Road, Newark, were affected by sewage flooding around their property.
Sharon and John Cox of Kelham Road, Newark, were affected by sewage flooding around their property.

In the following days, the problems worsened and soon their home was made an island in a lake of sewage ten inches deep completely surrounding the house.

They were left without the ability to flush a toilet for five days out of fear that backed up drains on their property could overflow even more.

The retired couple have lived on the street since 2001 and have kept a detailed log of flood issues on the street ever since.

However, they say the problems have worsened in recent months, with the land surrounding their house flooding on three separate occasion since October of last year.

Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.

“We first made a report in October, then it came up again on December. But the worst it’s ever been was during the most recent storm,” said Sharon.

“On January 5 our whole driveway was flooded, the following day it had made its way around the side of the house and by the Sunday it was dire.

“The whole time we were calling everyone we could, Severn Trent, the council, the fire service, even our MP Robert Jenrick.

“It was days before any help arrived but when it did we can’t fault the driver of the tanker that turned up. He was pumping day and night, seven gallons a second, for two and half days and even slept in his cab — he deserves credit.

“By January 10 the sewer was finally empty and we could begin looking at the damage but it shouldn’t have taken that long.”

Sharon and John were able to protect their home from flooding by using aquasacks to surround their doors and to cover drains which were overflowing, but could not save the carpets in their summer house or their garage which also flooded and ruined a freezer full of food.

Sharon and John Cox of Kelham Road, Newark, were affected by sewage flooding around their property.
Sharon and John Cox of Kelham Road, Newark, were affected by sewage flooding around their property.
Sharon and John Cox of Kelham Road, Newark, were affected by sewage flooding around their property.
Sharon and John Cox of Kelham Road, Newark, were affected by sewage flooding around their property.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.
Residents of Kelham Road, in Newark, were affected by sewage flooding a property during Storm Henk.

Although Severn Trent were eventually able to pump out the water from the drains and take it away, the couple were concerned about the problems returning in the future.

“They have a duty of contract to provide us with water, but not other people’s sewage,” said Sharon.

“I just want our property back to how it was and clean again, I don’t want sympathy, I just want help and I want it to stop happening.

“No one seemed to know what was happening and there was a lot of miscommunication.

“When the water was finally gone I was told that the council would clear up, but the council then told us Environmental Health would do it and then they told us it was Severn Trent’s responsibility.

“We had some nice help at times, but we feel somewhat let down by the system not working properly.”

Although the sewage had been drained, Sharon and John still have remnants of the sewage strewn around their property, most evident with toilet paper sticking to the patio.

Despite their ordeal the couple thanked their neighbours for all of the support they had given.

Another flooded garden on Kelham Road. Provided by: Abi Carson, KCS Residents Action Against Floods, Facebook.
Another flooded garden on Kelham Road. Provided by: Abi Carson, KCS Residents Action Against Floods, Facebook.
Flooding under a house's flooring boards on Kelham Road. Provided by: Abi Carson, KCS Residents Action Against Floods, Facebook.
Flooding under a house's flooring boards on Kelham Road. Provided by: Abi Carson, KCS Residents Action Against Floods, Facebook.

Living next door to Sharon and John is Avril, a former healthcare professional, who was also affected by the sewage.

She said: “The water came into my garden and flooded the lawn.

“I rang multiple times but my details kept getting lost and it was three days before someone came.

“The water was yellow and one night I looked out of the window and saw a rat swimming around in the garden.

“I’ve lived here for 12 years and I can live with water, but not sewage. Now it turned into a health and safety issue.”

A flooded garden on Kelham Road, in Newark, during the Storm Henk floods in early January.
A flooded garden on Kelham Road, in Newark, during the Storm Henk floods in early January.
A flooded garden on Kelham Road, in Newark, during the Storm Henk floods in early January.
A flooded garden on Kelham Road, in Newark, during the Storm Henk floods in early January.

Although most other residents of Kelham Road were unaffected by the sewage, many still faced severe flooding, including Kim whose garden was submerged in a foot of water.

“Someone down the road had water under their floor boards and I daren’t look under mine,” said Kim.

“People think about homes flooding and picture water gushing in through the front door, but their don’t think about it coming up from the floor.

“The garden was worst affected. It was like swimming pool and it was tripping the electrics.

“You could have sailed a boat down here and I’m not exaggerating.

“It’s happened three times since October and it will only get worse.”

Newark and Sherwood District Council officers were out and about speaking with residents, gathering information on how they were affected and ideas of how response to flooding could be improved in the future.

When contacted by the Advertiser about the sewage, Karl Wilson, catchment lead at Severn Trent, said: “Following the impact of Storm Henk, we’ve been dealing with a higher than normal number of calls from customers.

“The volume of rainfall delivered during the storm resulted in the River Trent bursting its banks, with a significant amount of river water entering our sewer network.

“We would like to apologise to the residents on Kelham Road for the delay in attending their property, which we have done as quickly as we could.

“We understand how distressing and unpleasant this kind of flooding can be and we would like to thank everyone for their patience.”

Severn Trent also stated that their teams would always undertake a full cleanse and disinfect any area that has been the site of sewer flooding.



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