Sewage leak forced Tregonissey Lane End Post Office to close
A POST office owner has hit out at South West Water after human waste was left gushing out onto the street for nearly 36 hours.
Disgusted Hayley Heap, who owns Tregonissey Lane End Post Office and Stores with husband Nigel, called South West Water at least five times to report a stinking deluge.
The fountain of sewage had burst from a manhole cover, swept past the shop on Carclaze Road, and covered the path.
Mrs Heap, 51, said: "It was absolutely disgusting. Anyone coming from the post office to Agar Road would have had to walk into it."
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The sewage started to lap at the cash machine at the front of the building, the couple explained.
Mrs Heap said she first reported it to South West Water on Friday morning but by the afternoon nothing had been done. They were left with no option but to close and started to clean up, expecting to open on Saturday.
Mrs Heap told the Cornish Guardian: "Closing a post office is not a decision you take lightly. We have customers who come in a taxi, elderly people, disabled people and it's a really poor service to turn them away."
They also feared schoolchildren walking into the busy road to avoid the sewage could be harmed so helped to divert pedestrians.
However, the next day the sewage was "still gushing".
Despite further calls to South West Water, and Cornwall Council's Environmental Health team, it wasn't until lunchtime SWW employees turned up.
In the end Mr and Mrs Heap served customers from the door on Saturday – using a Cornish Guardian A-frame sign to stem the tide of sewage.
"We were able to serve 90 per cent of our customers who were so supportive," said Mrs Heap.
By 5pm South West Water had stopped the deluge and cleaned it up.
South West Water has apologised for the delay but a company spokesman said it had been caused by its employees working through the night to clear sewage which had deluged homes – a priority – as a result of heavy rainfall.
Mrs Heap added: "I just hope no one gets sick as a result of it.
"Problems can't be helped but you know how good a company is by their response and I feel their response was very poor."
CCTV investigations revealed a collapsed sewer and repairs will take place as soon as highways permissions have been agreed, added the spokesman.