An elderly couple whose garden was flooded with sewage three times last year says they are ‘very angry’ Thames Water has not offered any compensation for ‘disastrous’ ongoing work that has still not solved the problems caused by a broken pipe.

Patrick and Jane Frizoni, both in their 70s, have been living on a “construction site” for the last six months while Thames Water attempts to find and fix a burst sewer pipe near their home on Church Road in Penn, High Wycombe.

The couple has experienced multiple bouts of sewage flooding in their once picturesque garden since last April, with October marking the third time in twelve months that they were confronted with the “terrible smelling” contents of the village’s sewer network, this time through a sinkhole that opened up near the retirees’ ornamental summerhouse.

In the intervening period, Thames Water has admitted responsibility for a burst sewer pipe near the property and has kept a continuous presence at the site – though Patrick and Jane don’t believe meaningful progress has been made in the work, which has effectively turned the garden into an “construction site”.

Bucks Free Press:

Patrick said “eight men” from the company have turned up every day since October but have done nothing to address the “appalling” state of the garden, a third of which has been sealed off behind Thames Water barriers and other parts of which have been dug up, presumably in attempts to find the faulty section of underground piping.

He added: “Our garden is my wife’s pride and joy, but it’s been a disaster for us for the whole of last year. First, it was covered in sewage and now we’ve had to remove all the furniture and it’s all been fenced off and dug up.

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“They’ve taken down our fences, too, so people walking past can look straight into our garden and house. We’ve lost our privacy, and they haven’t offered us any compensation. It’s an appalling situation.

“My wife and I are just ordinary people who had a lovely house. Now, all of this is happening and we’re just sitting here, unable to do anything about it. It makes me very angry.”

The water company left a sign on the fencing to indicate when the work would be finished but after it wasn’t filled in, Jane wrote in the empty space that it would take ‘until the cows come home’ – a light-hearted look at what has been a genuinely stressful situation for the elderly couple.

Bucks Free Press:

A spokesperson for Thames Water said: “We are very sorry to Mr and Mrs Frizoni who have experienced external sewer flooding at their home due to a burst sewer pipe.

“We know how unpleasant this can be and have assigned a dedicated case manager to them. They visit them on a weekly basis to provide updates on the repair and to answer any questions they may have. In addition, we recently held a drop-in session at the Horse and Jockey pub, where customers could come and ask questions.

“Our engineers have been carrying out investigations to establish how best to repair the broken sewer pipe. We can now confirm that we will be relining the pipe and expect work to begin in mid-May.

“We will reinstate Mr and Mrs Frizoni’s garden following this work, which we aim to finish in mid-June. We’d like to thank customers for their continued patience during this time.”

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