Edinburgh couple’s fury at Scottish Water as Leith flat floods with sewage again

Sewage water has flooded the home of an Edinburgh woman for the second time in two years after Scottish Water failed to fix blocked drains connected to her basement flat.

Wednesday, 14th August 2019, 7:11 am

Zoe Kelly, 28, lost photographs of her grandparents from the war along with clothes, diaries and letters in the flood last Wednesday.

It was the second time Miss Kelly’s flat, which she shares with her partner Robbie, 33, had been flooded since she bought the property on Sandport Street in Leith.

In a statement Scottish Water apologised for the flooding and it they had arranged full clean-ups and alternative accommodation.

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However, Miss Kelly said she was living in accommodation provided by her insurer and that Scottish Water had only sent around a subcontractor to disinfect the flat, and not provided a full clean-up.

Since the initial flood in January last year the couple have been battling Scottish Water’s customer services to get answers as to why the flood happened and ensuring a fix to a blocked waste trap would take place.

But instead of help, they were given leaflets setting out the company’s legal position, and were left waiting for appointments for water analysts and contractors who never turned up.

Then, after spending more than £13,000 fixing cracked pipes and waterproofing, heavy rain last Wednesday saw the toilet in their flat flood again, potentially contaminating the property with sewage water for a second time.

Almost all of the couple’s clothes, sentimental items including signed leaving shirts from school, reports and dresses owned by Miss Kelly’s mother and grandmother were all lost to the flood water.

Miss Kelly said: “This really has wrecked our lives after a year and a half. We spent four months sleeping in our kitchen and lived out of our flat for five months.

“Because we were nearly finished rebuilding it is a bit like getting to the top of a mountain and being kicked down to the bottom again with all your stuff taken away. The emotional toll has been massive.”

She added: “I cannot tell you how devastating it is to watch all your possessions get destroyed.

“The fight has been entirely all-consuming and bankrupting. Scottish Water have done everything they can to try and absolve themselves of responsibility.”

The couple also suffer from asthma and have had to increase the use of their inhalers due to the damp following the first flood.

Both Miss Kelly and her insurers are now looking for compensation from Scottish Water.

After complaining to the company, the Evening News understands that Scottish Water’s chief executive, Douglas Millican, has asked for the case to be escalated to the head of customer service, Mark McEwen. However, no timeline for repairs has been given.

A Scottish Water spokesman said: “We are extremely sorry to learn of the flooding experienced during the recent extreme weather.

“We have supported Zoe during this distressing time with a dedicated point of contact who has arranged for full clean-ups to take place and also arranged alternative accommodation. We will fully investigate the underlying causes of this flooding and will continue to offer advice and assistance wherever we can.”

Paul Hendy, who works in flood recovery for the charity Scottish Flood Forum, said: “It is rather tragic that they appear to have been left with no forward progress and that is not how Scottish Water normally works. It is time to get this sorted and we will work with them to do so. Sometimes things go wrong but now there has been a directive from the chief executive, I think this could get sorted quite quickly.”