Sewer pipe blockage leaves Horsham families reeling from ‘putrid stench’


A blockage in a sewer pipe has left families in Horsham reeling from a foul smell and sewage contaminating a young mum’s home.

Tiphanie Lowe, of Henderson Way, says she has been complaining about the stench in the area for the past year. In desperation this week she contacted Southern Water and asked them to check the drains.

“The waste has been upflowing out of the toilet, into the bath and all over the floor. My son has refused to have a bath because of it,” she said.

“The smell is putrid, I haven’t been able to hang clothes outside and the children can’t play there.”

She said she was sure that the sewer problem was responsible for a foul smell that has plagued the whole of Horsham for some time. “People thought it was fields being sprayed, but it was human waste in the pipes,” she said.

Southern Water, the Environment Agency and Berkeley Homes, which has a development nearby, have all investigated.

Southern Water says the problem has been caused by a ‘fatberg’ blocking a pipe.

A spokesman said: ”We responded to a report of wastewater leaking from a manhole near Henderson Way, working as quickly as possible to contain the leak to protect the local environment. For example, by bringing in tanker lorries to manage sewer flows and placing sandbags around the manhole.

“Our team of engineers has now established that the problem stemmed from a blockage caused by cooking fat, oil and grease, or FOG, building up in the pipe.

“The blockage is being cleared using a high-powered water jet.”

And a spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Our officers carried out tests on water quality in the River Arun after sewage escaped from a nearby manhole following a blockage in a sewer pipe.

“They are satisfied there is no lasting damage to the river, but have reminded Southern Water about keeping pipes clear.

“If anyone has concerns about the incident, they can call the Environment Agency hotline: 0800 80 70 60. A free call and manned around the clock.”

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Berkeley Homes added: “Southern Water’s investigation contractor, Conway, have verbally confirmed to us that the overflowing manhole outside of the boundary of our development was caused by a ‘fatberg’ blocking the pipe further down the line.

“This sewer is the responsibility of Southern Water following our handover to SSE in June 2018. Our team of sustainability and construction professionals will be present to monitor their careful remediation of the area.”