‘Putrid’ sewage splashed school children in Haywards Heath

Drains in New England Road, Haywards Heath SUS-150331-130822008
Drains in New England Road, Haywards Heath SUS-150331-130822008

A drain overflowed with ‘putrid’ sewage, causing cars to splash filthy water on students and parents on their way to school.

Emily Wright says the drain on New England Road, Haywards Heath, has been blocked and overflowing since Christmas.

She has been splashed ‘a number of times’.

She said: “A mother from Warden Park School was badly splashed this morning and I was concerned as she has a young baby and who knows what germs are in the water.

“It is foul water.”

Clare Thompson added: “Myself and my four children were splashed on our way home from school yesterday (March 26).

“I don’t blame the driver of the car as the road narrows there and the water cannot be avoided. As the water smells so putrid and has baby wipes floating in it, it is obvious that the water is contaminated with sewage, so I had to take the children straight home to get them out of their now contaminated clothes and bath them.

“I was concerned that we may all get sick from coming in contact with raw sewage.”

Mandi Gould was splashed on her school run.

She said: “There was toilet tissue seeping out of the drain and the waste sewage was running down the hill.”

Southern Water set the drain as a high priority and sent workers out to fix the drain.

A spokesman said: “We’re sorry for this unpleasant issue. It happened after a sewer became blocked with fat and items such as wet wipes.

“Due to its size, clearing the blockage was a challenge and we had to call in contractors with specialist equipment to contain the flows and protect the environment.”

West Sussex Highways said Southern Water cleared the drain two hours after it was reported.

But some say the drain has been blocked ‘for months’.

Alex Goodband said: “It’s disgusting. It’s on the higher end of the hill, it’s all running down to the next drain, so all that mess is just flowing down the street. Tissue, wipes and putrid smelling water, we get splashed by cars walking our children to school, the risks could be huge, if any of that grim water were to get into my kid’s eyes or mouth, it would most certainly make him ill, it’s been like it for months now.”

Southern Water is working with the county council to prevent sewage spilling onto the road in future.

“We also ask our customers to help by not pouring fat down the sink or flushing non-biodegradable items like wet wipes and sanitary items down the toilet. These should always go in the bin.”