Eastbourne woman finds herself sitting in bathtub filled with sewage

An Eastbourne woman has described the moment she found herself sitting in sewage in her bathtub.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 11:24 am
Updated Thursday, 13th January 2022, 12:06 pm

An Eastbourne woman has described the moment she found herself sitting in sewage in her bathtub.

Emma St John, who lives in Abbots Close, said she has experienced a number of plumbing issues since moving into her house in 2015.

The Eastbourne resident said along with the sewage entering her bathtub in October, she has also experienced a number of issues over the last six years - including her boiler bursting on Saturday (January 8) and water leaking from the ceiling.

Miss St John's bathtub following the incident SUS-220113-111818001

Miss St John said, “I was having a nice bath about to get out, I was just going to rinse my hair out. I heard this little ‘boom’ sound and when I went up I was sitting in sewage.”

The Abbots Close resident said she also had sewage in both her bathroom and kitchen sinks.

Since the incident, Miss St John said she developed blister-like bumps on her body, with some bursting and scarring, which she believes came about due to the sewage in the bath.

When talking about the string of issues she has had in her property, Miss St John said, “It is just getting beyond a joke, it really is.

Miss St John's bathtub following the incident SUS-220113-111757001

“I can’t do any washing up, I can’t do any clothes washing, nothing. I am literally in my living room in a sleeping bag.

“My bottom, I couldn’t even sit down because every time I did they split. All those spots split.

“They went down to my feet, on my arms, on my stomach.”

The Abbots Close resident, whose boiler has since been fixed, said she had an appointment with her doctor about the spots.

Miss St John said she also had sewage in her kitchen sink SUS-220113-111807001

Miss St John said, “He put me straight on antibiotics and steroids. I have been on four or five sets so far.”

The Eastbourne woman said people had visited the house to sort out the plumbing issues but the toilet and outside drains were the only areas dealt with.

Miss St John said Southern Water is aware of the problem but has not been in touch.

She said, “It is dangerous. It makes you feel so ill and with the health problems I have got it really doesn’t help because I suffer from a bowel problem.

“I need to get to the toilet when I need to, not to flush it for it to come back up at me.”

Miss St John said she has also informed Stonewater Housing Association about the problem.

She said, “I was hoping to do a house swap. The girl still wants to take the house but we just want the repairs done. I want to claim for compensation as well for ill health.

“I have had to rip up three carpets, my sofa is nearly ruined because there is water coming through the ceiling. I think I should be entitled to something.”

A Stonewater spokesperson said, “We are really sorry that Miss St John has had such an awful experience with the drainage and plumbing in her home.

“Our contractor visited the property to investigate the sewage issue when it was logged last October.

“Whilst there were no blockages or defects found, the contractor did identify an issue with the road’s drainage gullies, which was reported to Southern Water.

“However, we understand that, subsequently, there is an ongoing investigation into the ownership of the road’s shared drainage system which may fall into the remit of the local authority.

“Even though these things can be complex, it’s not right that our customer is meanwhile stuck in the middle. We’ve picked this up as a priority and are doing everything we can to push forward with a solution.

“In terms of the boiler, the first repair appointment was cancelled as Miss St John was unwell at the time. The visit was rescheduled, and the repair completed on January 6.

“After speaking to Miss St John today (January 12), we understand that the boiler stopped working again on Saturday, January 8, and we are now arranging for our contractor to go back to the property and repair the system as soon as possible.

“As an interim measure, we have offered to provide alternative heating as we know some repairs are taking longer than usual because of contractor staff shortages.

“Meanwhile, we’re continuing to work with Miss St John to get this resolved and to support her request for a house swap.”

Southern Water has been contacted for a comment.