Fed-up residents are calling for action to fix a public drain which they claim is leaking raw sewage and gallons of excess water into their properties.
People living in Church Street, Mexborough, told how dirty drainage water up to a foot deep engulfs their back yards and sometimes comes in through their front doors when there is heavy rainfall.
Angry neighbours released pictures and video footage this week showing the scale of the problem as the authorities launched an investigation into the matter.
Diane Kerr, 65, a retired IT service delivery manager, said: “The problem has persisted for a few years now and people are getting fed up of it. It happens about three times a year whenever there is a big downpour. The smell can be very off putting and the water floods the bottom end of the garden.
“The water board has been out to look at it to be fair but we just want a permanent solution.”
Her sister and neighbour Sue, 63, a part-time teacher, added: “The garden does dip in a little at the bottom so water naturally collects there but you can also see the water spurting out in the borders from a pipe underneath so there is obviously a problem.”
Mexborough councillor Andy Pickering said the flooding was so bad a couple of weeks ago that residents contacted him asking how they could get sandbags from the council. He said: “There is clearly a problem down there and I have been advising residents. It is not right that people have to deal with this every time it rains heavily.”
Residents’ gardens back onto the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Canal.
However, they claim the cause of the flooding stems from a leaking pipe that runs just underneath the surface of their gardens.
Residents said the pipe connects the street drains to the canal and is supposed to carry excess water into the waterway. But its access is being blocked by metal cladding which was installed along the side of the canal.
Residents claim this is causing leaks to the pipe and contributing to a build-up of excess water which is leeching up onto their lawns. They also claim new housing developments in the area are causing build-ups in the drains and are calling for Yorkshire Water to invest in new sewer systems.
Mum-of-one Helen Wordsworth, 50, said: “When it has been really bad the water has come in through my door and into the kitchen. I fear it might cause some serious damage.
“There is a lot of new houses being built and I don’t think the drains can handle it. They are probably decades old and they should improve the sewer systems.”
A spokesperson for Yorkshire Water said: “We would like to apologise to any customers on Church Street in Mexborough who have been affected by issues with our combined sewer overflow pipe.
“A significant factor with this pipe has been caused by a third party blocking it with a piece of metal sheeting on the bank of the canal.
“A resolution is being fully investigated and a number of potential solutions considered.” He added any excess drainage that goes into the canal will have been processed at a waste water treatment facility to meet with environmental regulations.
A spokesman for the Canal & River Trust said their engineers were looking into widening drainage pipes into the canal. Nobody from Doncaster Council was available for comment. See the floods video at www.southyorkshiretimes.co.uk