RESIDENTS awoke to the sight and smell of raw sewage floating around outside their homes in Shoreham on Easter Sunday.
People living in St Giles Close were victims of a damaged sewerage pipe which caused a tide of excrement to flood a garage compound that serves the houses.
“We were shocked,” said resident Pat Tough.
“The smell was atrocious.
“I was very concerned about breathing it in and tended to cover my mouth and nose when I was near taking pictures.”
She said all the neighbours were concerned it was a health hazard.
“It’s not nice when you have raw sewage, tampons, condoms and baby wipes floating around.”
The problem started three weeks ago, and Southern Water sent a contractor who surveyed the area, but residents heard nothing until the weekend when they were forced to make the emergency call.
“We just need southern water to get themselves into gear and get this sorted,” said Pat.
“Any more rain before it’s all repaired and we will have a dire situation again. I think it should have been dealt with instantly and the paperwork done later.”
The sewage found its way under some garage doors and even into a garden, but to the residents’ relief, their houses were spared.
Adur Council chairman Mike Mendoza, who represents St Mary’s, said the situation was ‘totally disgusting’ and said the residents he had spoken to agreed.
Speaking on Tuesday, Cllr Mendoza said he was upset there had been so little action to resolve the problem.
“Something has certainly gone wrong,” he said.
With more rain forecast for the end of the week, residents fear the levels will rise again if nothing is done to fix the leak.
A spokesman for Southern Water apologised for the way the company had handled the incident.
“This is an unpleasant situation and we’re sorry we didn’t respond as quickly as customers expected,” she said.
Engineers believe a blocked or damaged sewer caused a manhole to overflow.
Contractors used a water jet to clear blockages on Monday and inspected the pipe for defects using CCTV.