Residents of Orpington flats say water is seeping from the ground and getting closer to homes

News Shopper: Thames Water engineers are currently on the scene Thames Water engineers are currently on the scene

RESIDENTS at a flooded block of flats in Orpington have talked of faeces floating in the court yard and water seeping from the ground.

Vending machine operational supplier Guy Marshall, of Borkwood Court, Sevenoaks Road, Orpington, said water started coming up through paving slabs and out of garden walls on Friday.

The 44-year-old criticised authorities for taking too long to respond and despite efforts from Thames Water, Bromley Council and the Environment Agency the cause remained unconfirmed on Monday. Today it was established to be down to high groundwater levels. 

The occupant, who lives in a ground floor property, said he had a stressful weekend and is annoyed the situation remains unresolved.

He said: “It’s getting very close to coming into my home – I’m very worried. I haven’t gone to work because of it.

“We’ve been flooded all weekend. It’s about an inch from my door.

“I spoke to Thames Water and they said they haven’t got equipment available to pump it out. I don’t think they’ve acted quickly enough.

“Water’s been coming out of the walls – it’s gone down into drains and I’ve seen faeces around the court yard and bathwater’s been coming out of my toilet.”

Hayley Simpson, 30, lives on the first floor but said she’s also worried about the situation. She said her husband in Wellingtoon Boots had to carry her five-year-old from her home to take her to school.

She said Bromley Council staff have been pumping the water out but added when she last looked it was “coming in quicker than it was going out”.

The mother of two said: “We can see it gushing in. It’s creeping up. We’re walking around in wellies.”

Thames Water said its engineers are currently on site and suggested “exceptionally high” groundwater, due to continued heavy rain, could be at fault.

A spokeswoman said: “We’re sorry for the delay in investigating this issue. Record-breaking rainfall over the last six weeks has seen our network overloaded and we’ve had to prioritise where we can.

“We’ll be working closely with the council and the Environment Agency to find out where this water is coming from and to see what we can do to help.”

Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment said Bromley Council responded immediately. The authority also said the overnight pumping "considerably reduced" the flooded areas.

Cllr Smith said: “We were aware that Thames Water had been called to the scene over the weekend and when we received a call on Monday morning, we responded immediately and our pumping operations started the same day. 

"Ultimately, this is a matter for the property owner to resolve and we are contacting them to discuss this.  Our records show that a similar situation occurred 13 years ago when groundwater levels were also high – we understand that the property is built in a former gravel pit and therefore, is more likely to experience groundwater issues.”

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