Great Barton couple’s flood water fear

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A Great Barton couple were terrified their historic home would be ruined on Sunday after their garden became flooded with sewage ‘spewing’ from blocked drains.

Andrew Hill became so concerned with the speed at which water was rising outside his 188-year-old property in The Park that, out of desperation, he grabbed a bucket and started ‘scooping it up and throwing it into the lane’.

He said: “The water level was getting higher and higher and I thought it was going to come into the kitchen.

“You could see it was coming up from the manhole cover and, of course, it was pouring with rain so there was water coming off the roof which couldn’t drain away because the drain was blocked.”

“It was bubbling all the way up the side of the house,” said his wife, Anne-Marie, who worried Andrew was ‘going to have a heart attack or a stroke’.

“I went out and got mad at him because I don’t want a dead husband - he was going grey and looked ill,” she said.

The couple, who are in their late 70s, called Anglian Water, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and a number of flood helplines in a frantic effort to get help. They believe the blockage occurred on the A143 Bury Road, which runs past their house.

Eventually firefighters came and sealed their front door but an Anglian Water engineer did not attend until the following day.

A spokeswoman for Anglian Water said ‘a blockage in the sewer combined with the persistent rain caused the system to back-up and overflow’.

Of what they will be doing to reduce the risk in the future, she said: “Firstly, we will be jetting the whole length of sewer to clear it of debris, after which we will carry out a thorough survey using a CCTV camera - because of the proximity to the A143, we do need traffic management in place before we can start this work, but we will complete it as soon as possible.”

Andrew said drainage had become such a problem in Great Barton that six months ago the parish council, of which he is a member, set up a highways committee.

He said representatives of the county council had attended meetings and ‘promised to look into the problem’ but nothing had happened so far.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “We’re aware of the flooding issues in this area and are working with local partners to investigate the exact cause to ensure we take the right steps forward to alleviate the issue.”