Woman forced to use cat litter to go to the toilet after village's nightmare sewage problems

Woman forced to use cat litter to go to the toilet after village's nightmare sewage problems

Watch: 'Woefully failing!' Actor James Murray blasts British water companies over sewage spills

GB News
James Saunders

By James Saunders

Published: 16/04/2024

- 13:56

The 87-year-old bemoaned her "awful" situation, which councillors called "heart-wrenching"

An 87-year-old woman has claimed she was forced to use cat litter to relieve herself after ongoing sewage problems in her village left her toilet unusable.

Speaking at a public meeting between residents, council officials and Anglian Water representatives in Grimston, just outside King's Lynn in Norfolk, the woman detailed her "awful" ordeal - sparking fury from locals in solidarity with her situation.

She told attendees: "I've had to resort to sitting on cat litter to get rid of my own waste because the sewer in the front of my house backs up whenever we get heavy rain and it overflows and backs into my drains.

"I am left isolated in my house with no means whatsoever to get rid of my waste. In February, I had to buy a commode and fill it with cat litter. I was left in this state for five days. The situation is awful."

Grimston meeting/Anglian Water vehicles in Grimston

The woman told attendees of her troubles at this meeting in Grimston - which has struggled with sewage for years

Gaywood River Revival

Rob Colwell, a Liberal Democrat councillor for King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, told the Lynn News: "There was a lot of anger in the room from local residents.

"We had stories of sewage flooding homes, geysers of water coming from street manhole covers that tested positive for E. coli, people contracting E.coli...

"The most heart-wrenching story of the night was from an 87-year-old disabled lady who had no option but to purchase a commode and go to the toilet on cat litter because she couldn’t flush her toilet. I had to go and speak to her afterwards as it upset me."

Cllr Colwell said Norfolk County Council has pledged to provide support to the woman, while Anglian Water has been told to send an engineer to her home to investigate.


Anglian Water flag/Watery Lane sign

Watery Lane in Grimston has battled with ongoing sewage overflow problems thanks to a local waste treatment plant


The woman's testimony marks just the latest in a string of water troubles affecting the area; over the last two decades, one road in Grimston - Watery Lane - has battled with ongoing sewage overflow problems stemming from a local treatment plant.

Environment Agency data also revealed that waste water from the plant had spilled into the Gaywood River for over 1,600 hours in 2023 - sparking the creation of Gaywood River Revival, the group which hosted the event at which the woman described her ordeal.

Locals have laid the blame on new housing developments nearby, which they say have ramped up the strain on the area's sewage system - and while Anglian Water's head of technical operations, Paul Louth, said the firm was committed to reaching a solution, they did not come forward with details of any kind of implementation date.

Mark Dye, a parish councillor from Grimston, said: "Some of the stories we heard were horrendous and deeply upsetting. I think locals have shown great resilience and been patient enough already.

"Whilst I appreciate 2024 saw record levels of rainfall, the problems in the three villages have been getting worse for years.

"This all points to a failure in proper long-term investment to keep up with local development and upgrades to infrastructure."

The issue isn't just plaguing Grimston - in Bunwell, South Norfolk, residents have had to "balance on buckets" after backed-up drains rendered their toilets unusable.

While in Hickling, in the Norfolk Broads, the Eastern Daily Press reported that locals have been forced to use public toilets for months after reporting raw sewage emerging from their baths and toilets.

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