A Banstead customer service worker said her front garden is ruined after a raw sewage leak over the New Year. At least three houses in a row have been affected by the flooding, which began on Friday (December 30).

Sharon Mortimer, who lives in one of the houses , said: "As you can imagine it's disgusting and smells. It was logged with Thames Water on Friday but on Saturday it was even worse and I rang up their emergency number and was on the phone for around 30 or 40 minutes before someone actually answered.

"A contractor turned up at 8am on New Year's Day to unblock the drain - nothing else. I and the neighbours then received a text from Thames Water saying there would be a clean-up within 48 hours, and nothing has been done.

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"We've still got sewage and toilet tissue and God knows what in our gardens ." Sharon laid white Cotswold stones with an underneath weed membrane in her garden during lockdown, which she says is now contaminated due to the sewage.

She added: "My next-door neighbour has grey slate stone, which is also quite expensive, with a membrane and his is totally ruined as well. They said they'll clean and sanitise it but it's still contaminated because it's underneath."

Sharon's neighbour's front garden with sewage along the house wall
Sharon's neighbour's front garden with sewage along the house wall

Sharon, who is in her 50s and lives with her partner, said the smell makes her feel sick and has to take a "big step" to enter the front door because the area was flooded with sewage. Early on Wednesday evening (January 4) Sharon's partner arrived home to find contractors outside: "He asked what they were going to do and they replied they were going to jet wash.

"We have all said no to this as where exactly are they jet washing to? This will only spread it, plus our stones and membrane will still be contaminated."

While in a separate incident over the New Year, raw sewage has been a regular occurrence over the past 12 years for some residents of Alfold, near Cranleigh . Peter Hartley said: "The sewage has flooded my garden before - my dogs wouldn't even go outside.

"Sadly I haven't got dogs now but when I did they looked at me and said 'you must be joking!'" The 75-year-old said there could be up to two inches of sewage whenever there was a heavy flood and drain blockage: "It might only happen twice a year but that's twice more than you need."

Sharon Mortimer of Lakers Rise, Banstead - Her garden (and her neighbours) have had raw sewage emerging into them for the past few days
Sharon said the smell of sewage leaks make her feel sick

Peter, who is a carer for his partner with Alzheimer's disease, said a small set of neighbours are impacted in the area and that the sewers need replacing. He believes there are places where they are "simply laid wrong and open to ingress from surface water", which results in periodical flooding and sewer waste deposited in people's gardens.

Alfold has a pumping station that the retired consultant systems engineer said "always" floods and has caused sewage problems for years. In the past, Peter has even been involved with a flood forum - currently chaired by Guildford MP Angela Richardson - that was set up in the area as it is so consistently affected by the leaks.

On the Banstead sewage leakage, a spokesperson for Thames Water told SurreyLive : "We attended a call regarding a blockage on January 1. The blockage of ‘rag’ was cleared and the flow was restored.

"A clean-up team attended the location, disinfecting the area and removing debris however some residents have refused the services of the clean-up team. Those customers have been advised to contact their insurance companies.”

Regarding Alfold Village, a Thames Water spokesperson said: “We attended a sewage leak in Alfold village on January 1 where our onsite engineer confirmed a hydraulic overload at the Sewage Pumping Station due to heavy rain. Tankers have been arranged to support the situation.

"We apologise to residents for the inconvenience caused by this and are working hard to resolve the issues."

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