City family’s home was ‘stinking of faeces’ after pipe burst

Mum Emma Clark with her three children. Picture: Jon Savage.
Mum Emma Clark with her three children. Picture: Jon Savage.
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A MOTHER-OF-THREE was left disgusted after a human waste pipe burst and covered her kitchen floor in her family’s own faeces.

Emma Clark said she was appalled Edinburgh City Council had left her Wester Hailes Park flat stinking for a whole week after sewage came pouring out onto the floor.

The 23-year-old was on her hands and knees cleaning up the mess because she was fed up of waiting for council cleaners who never arrived.

She said: “I was woken by the neighbour, who lives below us.

“He asked me if we had a leak because water was coming through his ceiling. I wasn’t aware of anything until I walked into my kitchen and it was absolutely stinking.

“I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was seeing things.”

A plumber arrived at the family’s flat and diagnosed the problem as being a flushed baby wipe causing a blockage.

A plug was fixed back onto the pipe and an inspector looked around the kitchen that evening. Emma, her partner and three children, aged five, three and two, were offered a hotel in Queensferry until alternative housing became available after refusing to stay in their sewage-ridden flat. They declined the offer and instead sought refuge with Ms Clark’s mother-in-law in her two-bedroom home.

She said: “With three youngsters, getting to Wester Hailes and getting the kids to school would have been some mission.

“We did not want to stay in the hotel. I have three young children to think about and they shouldn’t have to cope with this. You’d think with children the council would give more priority, but they were not interested. The fact I had to clean it myself is ridiculous.

“I have had to bin lots of towels I used for cleaning and also food too.”

The council sent out workmen to replace plywood near the pipe as well as part of the kitchen unit and sink. An inspector was at the flat that night to inspect the repairs and damage. The kitchen got its much-needed deep clean eight days after the initial incident, with Emma sickened at the council’s lack of urgency in making the kitchen usable again.

The vinyl flooring was ripped up following the leak, leaving the family with bare floorboards – something Emma has claimed need replacing.

She said: “The floorboards need replacing as they had been soaking and the germs in the place just aren’t worth thinking about.

“The kitchen was left stinking for more than a week. The council hasn’t been round to ask what replacement flooring we want yet either. The whole situation has been a nightmare.”

It is understood the council found the floorboards had not been affected by the leak.

Cllr Gavin Barrie, housing and economy convener, said: “I appreciate that this was very difficult for the family and I sympathise with the situation they are in. We have done everything we can to respond to this situation and carry out the required repairs to help the family back into their property as quickly as possible.”