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Editor’s comment: Elderly residents face large fine over connection to wrong sewer

PUBLISHED: 08:00 07 October 2017

The Holland-Jones home had been using a misconnected sewer pipe for 32 years since an extension was built in 1985. Photo: Dirtyboxface via CC

The Holland-Jones home had been using a misconnected sewer pipe for 32 years since an extension was built in 1985. Photo: Dirtyboxface via CC

Archant

The experience of pensioner Brian Holland-Jones in which he feared a £50,000 fine through no fault of his own, will ring alarm bells for many homeowners.

We read the story and think, if it can happen to him it could happen to us.

Brian had an extension built 32 years ago. It was checked by council building inspectors and signed off and so as far as he was concerned there were no problems.

Now he finds out that the waste pipe from his toilet was connected to the wrong sewer and his poo has been going to the wrong place. He was given 21 days to fix the problem or be fined up to £50,000.

Thames Water told our reporter that it is a common problem because London’s sewers are older than most other parts of the country and plumbers who came to London from outside the capital in the 1970s and 80s often were not aware how easy it was to connect up the wrong pipes.

When I moved into my house six years ago, it already had a kitchen extension. I have no idea when it was built or who the builders and plumbers were or if they knew this problem could happen. Others with extensions will be in the same position.

Like Brian, I would have expected an error like that to have been spotted by the council’s buildings inspector.

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