Southern Water denies causing waste backflow into New Milton residents’ bathroom and toilet
A WATER company has denied a New Milton pensioner’s claim waste water was backed up into his home by works carried out next door.
Robert Halse (66) told the A&T he and his partner Angie Foster were shocked to discover effluent had flowed out of both the upstairs and downstairs toilets at their property on Doe Copse Way.
The “muddied” water covered the toilet seats and surrounding areas of floor, and Mr Halse said the pressure even sent it up the back walls.
Mr Halse complained to Southern Water, believing a contactor dealing with a neighbour’s blockage caused the backflow.
“When I lifted the lid, there was just a tiny bit of water at the bottom of the bowl. I then realised some of the water was, I’ll say, muddied, soiled,” he said.
“We were pretty fed up. I put a complaint in, saying, ‘You’ve breached health and safety and caused us distress with all the mopping up we had to do’.”
Mr Halse hit out at Southern Water’s refusal to take responsibility, believing he and Miss Foster were owed compensation.
But the firm later informed him the case was closed after investigations found the flooding could not have been caused by the work next door.
Having been asked if he took pictures of the mess, Mr Halse believes his complaint was dismissed due to lack of photographic proof.
“Under the circumstances, standing over soiled water and smiling at the camera didn’t come top of our priorities,” he continued.
“I used to get a jolly good hiding from my dad if I lied. I’m old school – I don’t lie.
“I would like them to reopen the case and for them to compensate us because they have miserably failed in their duty.”
He went on: “Would you like to go in your bathroom and wonder if it’s safe to walk on the floor barefoot?
“I can’t imagine an idiot saying, ‘No, fine with me. Pump all this crap on my bathroom floor and I’ll have a paddle’.
“It’s disgusting, absolutely disgusting, and unacceptable.”
Responding to the criticism, a Southern Water spokesperson explained it did not agree with the couple’s version of events.
Saying the neighbour’s blockage was cleared with a plunger and a nearby manhole cleaned on a downstream pipe, it did not believe this would have impacted the complainants’ property.
The spokesperson added workers also checked the private manhole at the front of their home, but found no issues.
“We would normally clear-up internal flooding ourselves if it is an issue that is our fault and do not require customers to take pictures,” they said.
“We believe this is an issue in relation to the customers’ private drains/sewers and not connected to our network.”
The spokesperson continued: “We know internal flooding is a distressing experience, and we are sorry to hear of this report.
“In this case, we investigated our network locally and are confident this flooding incident was not the result of work at a neighbouring property.”