‘Sewage leaked into my shower for days’

Oxford Mail: Joyce Pottinger, 75, from Cowley, says she has suffered from ill health as a result of exposure to contaminated waste Joyce Pottinger, 75, from Cowley, says she has suffered from ill health as a result of exposure to contaminated waste

A COWLEY woman had sewage bubbling up through her shower for 12 days before a housing firm fixed the problem.

Joyce Pottinger, of Owens Way, said she had suffered ill health as a result of prolonged exposure to the contaminated waste.

Extreme weather was blamed when her home flooded on Friday, November 23, but Catalyst Housing could not completely fix the issue until Wednesday.

Living on the bottom floor meant Mrs Pottinger had to wade through other people’s waste water which had found its way into her drain system.

Whenever the resident living above Mrs Pottinger let out a bath, foul sewage water would spill up through her walk-in shower.

The 75-year-old widow had laid down a dozen towels in an attempt to soak up the sewage water but it had spilled out into her hallway and soaked the carpet.

Catalyst said two sewage system pumps had broken, possibly due to the weather, and, again due to the weather, the association had problems getting a plumber out quickly.

The organisation has now professionally cleaned her hallway and bathroom and her carpet will be replaced after the hallway has dried out.

Mrs Pottinger said: “I am relieved but I am so tired because I have not had any sleep worrying about it coming through in the night and flooding the whole flat out.”

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She said her son had tried to use a mop to clean out the water in the bathroom but it was coming through quicker than he was able to clean it on Monday.

He filled a 15 litre bucket four times before it finally stopped.

Mrs Pottinger, who suffers from osteoarthritis and uses a walker to get around, added: “I am concerned it might happen again, but we will have to wait and see. But it should have been sorted out on Friday.”

She said she had been too scared to use her washing machine or shower over the weekend in case her house flooded, but said her toilet had been working.

Mrs Pottinger said she first contacted Catalyst about the problem on the Friday at about 6pm.

Catalyst property service manager Michael Young said: “Recently, an unlikely dual fault occurred in the sewage system at Owens Way which we believe to be due to the extreme weather. This unfortunately caused a number of drainage problems within the building.

“We acted quickly to fix the issue and we will be investigating the fault to try and ensure it doesn’t occur again.”

Comments (7)

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12:52pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Pretty poor design really.

If these properties had been designed with real-life in mind, they would have undercroft parking instead of ground floor apartments (the streets around there are littered with cars abandoned anywhere there is a space).

There would also be semi-detached bungalows with low step/ramp for relevant people - which although space expensive are also rich for quality of life.
Pretty poor design really. If these properties had been designed with real-life in mind, they would have undercroft parking instead of ground floor apartments (the streets around there are littered with cars abandoned anywhere there is a space). There would also be semi-detached bungalows with low step/ramp for relevant people - which although space expensive are also rich for quality of life. Andrew:Oxford

1:14pm Fri 7 Dec 12

CowleyBoy says...

Pretty typical of modern housing developments. Squeeze as many properties in as they can, and things like parking provisions or the quality of life of the eventual residents are an afterthought.
Pretty typical of modern housing developments. Squeeze as many properties in as they can, and things like parking provisions or the quality of life of the eventual residents are an afterthought. CowleyBoy

2:27pm Fri 7 Dec 12

King Joke says...

What ignorant comments. How would ample parking improve quality of life for this lady? She is clearly to frail to drive. Encouraging people to bring cars into this crowded city makes for a worse quality of life, not a better one.

There is nothing wrong with high-density properties if designed and executed properly - it works on the Continent. If this development comprised of bungalows there would be space for far fewer residents, so some of them would have to move out of Oxford altogether.
What ignorant comments. How would ample parking improve quality of life for this lady? She is clearly to frail to drive. Encouraging people to bring cars into this crowded city makes for a worse quality of life, not a better one. There is nothing wrong with high-density properties if designed and executed properly - it works on the Continent. If this development comprised of bungalows there would be space for far fewer residents, so some of them would have to move out of Oxford altogether. King Joke

5:54pm Fri 7 Dec 12

CowleyBoy says...

My mention of parking was just to illustrate the fact that developers don't think about the day-to-day necessities of the residents when building new areas. The #1 priority is the quantity of plots.

Besides which, living in the real world as I do, people need cars to get to work. Therefore they need somewhere safe to keep them.

It's all a very nice idea that everyone could walk/cyle to work, but it's not and never will be the reality.
My mention of parking was just to illustrate the fact that developers don't think about the day-to-day necessities of the residents when building new areas. The #1 priority is the quantity of plots. Besides which, living in the real world as I do, people need cars to get to work. Therefore they need somewhere safe to keep them. It's all a very nice idea that everyone could walk/cyle to work, but it's not and never will be the reality. CowleyBoy

9:33pm Fri 7 Dec 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

King Joke wrote:
What ignorant comments. How would ample parking improve quality of life for this lady? She is clearly to frail to drive. Encouraging people to bring cars into this crowded city makes for a worse quality of life, not a better one.

There is nothing wrong with high-density properties if designed and executed properly - it works on the Continent. If this development comprised of bungalows there would be space for far fewer residents, so some of them would have to move out of Oxford altogether.
It's all a matter of gravity, drainage and avoiding flat entrances at ground level.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: What ignorant comments. How would ample parking improve quality of life for this lady? She is clearly to frail to drive. Encouraging people to bring cars into this crowded city makes for a worse quality of life, not a better one. There is nothing wrong with high-density properties if designed and executed properly - it works on the Continent. If this development comprised of bungalows there would be space for far fewer residents, so some of them would have to move out of Oxford altogether.[/p][/quote]It's all a matter of gravity, drainage and avoiding flat entrances at ground level. Andrew:Oxford

5:37pm Sun 9 Dec 12

Pavinder Msvarensy says...

And also Andrew, it is a matter of putting over 600 new homes (and more going up as we speak) on two plots just half a mile apart that used to only house a school and Bus Garage. These were built on the cheap to maximise profits, without the developer being forced to pay for extra sewer work to cope. When the new student flats on the Bus Garage site (that should have been council housing, but that is another story, see council corruption of land left for years, time limitation, before the papers were found for Berkeley Homes to take over and make millions) is this going to be a regular occurrence?
And also Andrew, it is a matter of putting over 600 new homes (and more going up as we speak) on two plots just half a mile apart that used to only house a school and Bus Garage. These were built on the cheap to maximise profits, without the developer being forced to pay for extra sewer work to cope. When the new student flats on the Bus Garage site (that should have been council housing, but that is another story, see council corruption of land left for years, time limitation, before the papers were found for Berkeley Homes to take over and make millions) is this going to be a regular occurrence? Pavinder Msvarensy

8:42am Mon 10 Dec 12

King Joke says...

Actually a large number of people living up the Cowley Rd work at either the City Centre, THe Business Park, the BMW, Brookes, the JR Hospital or the Science Park, ie the city's main employers.

All are linked by buses, so owning a car is not a necessity in this part of the city.
Actually a large number of people living up the Cowley Rd work at either the City Centre, THe Business Park, the BMW, Brookes, the JR Hospital or the Science Park, ie the city's main employers. All are linked by buses, so owning a car is not a necessity in this part of the city. King Joke

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