Mother's fury as drain works leave caravan covered in human waste
Mother, 38, has to have floors removed after work to unblock drain backfired and left her caravan and her children’s school uniform covered in human waste
- Tammy Samuel, 38, had ‘everyone’s poo and urine’ flowing into her home
- She blames the disaster on repair works to a communal drain that ‘backfired’
A family was left disgusted and freezing cold after sewage spewed out of their toilet and across their home from a blocked drain – soaking the children’s school uniform in human waste.
Tammy Samuel, 38, says she had ‘everyone’s poo and urine’ flow into her home after she reported blockages near her home on a traveller site in Sittingbourne, Kent.
Unblocking work by a council contractor backfired and projected waste out of her loo and into her caravan, ruining the floors and possessions including clothing and shoes in the home she shares with her partner and seven of her children.
Kent County Council (KCC) said the blockage was discovered in a utility block servicing Ms Samuel’s caservicing this caravan and others on site, which had been caused by the ‘flushing of inappropriate items’.
Despite sending cleaners to deep-clean the home, Ms Samuel says it has been left ‘damp’ and ‘cold’ without the flooring, which had to be removed during the cleanup.
Mother-of-eight Tammy Samuel says her home has been left ‘damp’ and ‘cold’ after a blocked drain spewed human waste into her home
The disgusting mess in Ms Samuel’s bathroom caused by a backfiring drain after a council repair job appeared to go wrong
Ms Samuel lives in the caravan with her partner and seven of her children, including twins Louieann and Levi James, three (left) and older twins, Jack and Rhianna May, seven (right)
Ms Samuel has also been left counting the cost of replacing her possessions in the run up to Christmas, because she didn’t have insurance and the council has not replaced them.
The stay-at-home mother-of-eight said: ‘On Tuesday, November 21, I reported to KCC that the drains outside the utility room on the site were blocked.
Can it go down the loo?
Most of us think very little about what happens to the things we flush down the loo – but sending away things that don’t belong in the drains can cause wider problems, including blockages.
Experts at Express Drainage Surveys have drawn up a top 10 list of things that should never be flushed – and should be put in the bin instead.
‘A man came to deal with it at 6.45pm but it backfired and all the sewage went up my toilet and into my caravan.
‘I had everyone’s urine and poo in my home. It was a nightmare. The waste flooded into mine and the kids’ bedrooms too.
‘It was in a terrible state, the smell was unbearable and I was fuming.’
The mother-of-eight was told by KCC that she and her children, aged between three and 16, had to leave the caravan due to hygiene concerns.
Ms Samuel said: ‘We had to get a taxi at 1am to my mum’s house in Milton Regis.
‘I was told that I wasn’t allowed in my home due to the bacteria that could be found in sewage.
‘My 11-year-old son has a rare skin condition and a weakened immune system so I was really worried about him becoming unwell as a result.’
After a deep clean the family moved back in but the lino in her bathroom and floorboards throughout her home had been lifted up and removed.
The council says it is helping the family to source replacement flooring, and is working to help them find funding to cover the costs.
Ms Samuel, who has been living on the Swale Way site since February, said: ‘What the cleaners left behind was still damp and it smells damp in the caravan and it feels cold.
‘I have no carpet, no lino and my floorboards are still damp. I’m scared the kids will go through the floor. I don’t know what else to do.
‘My children’s school uniform, school shoes, towels, and my pajamas that were in the bottom drawer of wooden units by the floor were all ruined.
‘Everything was sopping and damaged. The cleaners took everything that was saturated with them. I need new floor, towels, the kids’ uniform.’
Ms Samuel (pictured) says she remains angry with Kent County Council for, in her view, not doing enough to help her after the works backfired
Ms Samuel’s son Tony, 11, who has a rare skin condition and a weakened immune system – prompting fears he was at risk of falling ill after the repairs backfired
Tammy Samuel said she had ‘everyone’s poo and urine’ in her caravan after the communal drain was blocked by, the council said, ‘inappropriate items’
She remains furious and disappointed with the local authority for, in her view, not doing enough to fix a problem allegedly caused by their contracted workmen.
The authority has, however, given her a £600 Asda card to help her cover some of the costs associated with replacing school uniforms and other essentials.
The mother added: ‘I shouldn’t have to do this because it was the utility block’s drains that were blocked, not mine. I have no options now. I am really stressed out.
‘I am a mum of eight and I don’t have the money to replace these things, especially on top of Christmas. It is horrible and it’s making me so depressed.’
A KCC spokesman said: ‘Our contractor cleared a blockage in the main drain to the utility block servicing this caravan and others on site, which had been caused by the flushing of various inappropriate items.
‘The cause of the later problems inside the caravan are unclear. However, our contractors attended immediately and made the caravan habitable very quickly.
‘In most similar cases, household insurance will cover the cost of replacing damaged goods and clothing, but none was in place in this instance.
‘The immediate requirement is for linoleum and carpets for the caravan and shoes for the children, and we are making every effort to assist the family in acquiring these items or external funding for them.’
Does home insurance cover blocked drains?
Home insurance covers all manner of day-to-day mishaps and maladies around the house – and blocked drains can be one of them, depending on the drain and the circumstances in which it has been choked up.
Insurance comparison website GoCompare says that home insurance – if you have it – can pay out for damage caused by a blocked drain if it has been caused by accidental damage and is inside your home and property boundary.
This may also cover unexpected circumstances such as tree roots growing into the piping and damaging it. However, it may not cover corrosion and wear and tear to pipes associated with age and use.
As for whether you can claim on your insurance if you’ve been flushing things you shouldn’t have, the website’s view is clear: ‘You’re unlikely to be able to make a claim if you’ve blocked the drains because you’ve been flushing baby wipes down the toilet and leftover cooking oil and coffee grounds down the sink day after day.’
As ever, it’s best to check with your home insurance provider and to read your policy documents to understand exactly what is and is not covered by your own individual policy.
Pipes outside of your property are managed by your local water company – and you should report any suspected blockages outside your home to them.
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