Residents in part of South Tyneside face having to pay up because the drains in their 50-year-old homes are polluting a nearby stream.
Experts at Northumbrian Water say waste from homes is finding its way into the Calf Close Burn because a number of homes on the Fellgate Estate, in Jarrow, have ‘misconnected’ drainage systems.
It’s not our fault the drains were put in wrong when the homes were built.Robert Robertson
One resident has hit out at plans to force people to pay to have them corrected.
Robert Robertson only moved into his property, in Lichfield Way, last year.
A month later he was informed a survey was being carried out by Northumbrian Water into the area’s drainage system.
He said: “A full survey was carried out on the estate and there are about 70 homes affected. People have had extensions built and they are being told they will need to be dug up so the pipes can be put right.
“They are telling people to get estimates. But why should we have to pay? It’s not our fault the drains were put in wrong.”
Two public meetings will be held at Fellgate Primary School, where people can find out more about the issue.
The first will take place tomorrow from 3.30pm until 8pm and a second on Thursday from noon until 5pm.
A spokesman for Northumbrian Water said: “Letters have been sent to those customers whose properties were found to be misconnected, and we will be holding two information sessions, where colleagues from all relevant organisations will be present to talk through the issues with householders.”
A spokesman for South Tyneside Council said: “We understand the concerns of residents and that is why we are working with our partners to offer advice and guidance to those affected.
“Drop-in sessions have been arranged for affected residents this week, where people can meet representatives of Northumbrian Water and the Environment Agency as well as the council.
“We would urge all residents who have not yet had the remedial work carried out to come along and discuss the options open to them.”