Disabled Woman's Shepherd's Bush Home Covered with Sewage

Irene Stevens forced to live with daughter after flood damage

Irene Steven's family had to wear cleanroom suits to deal with the mess

A disabled woman has not been able to access her home for nine days after flooding left her flat covered in sewage.

Disabled Irene Stevens has had to seek refuge at her daughter’s home after wading through ankle high sewage at her home in Westville Road, after nearby drains flooded on 12 July.

Irene was in Chiswick when the flooding began and sewage water began rising from nearby drains.

Some nine days later, the asthma suffer’s kitchen and garden have been completely destroyed by the flooding.

Irene Stevens has not been able to stay at her home for nine days
Irene Stevens has not been able to stay at her home for nine days

The 70-year-old who has lived at the address for 45 years, said, “Within 20 minutes you couldn’t get into the property.

“It was raw sewage. There were wipes, tissues, all the muck. I cannot open the windows. I have no ventilation. They are stuck in with paint so I cannot lift them.

“I could not open the back door because of the smell. I have had to use my inhaler to the maximum.”

Irene has spent eight nights away from her home due to the horrific conditions.

Her housing association, Notting Hill Genesis, has paid for private cleaners to begin jet spraying Mrs Stevens’ garden and tearing away sewage laden carpet.

But her home is still in need of a deep clean and sewage has destroyed her shed and kitchen.

Footprints in Irene Stevens' garden show how much sewage was left
Footprints in Irene Stevens' garden show how much sewage was left

To make matters worse, Irene’s kitchen had been custom built just six weeks earlier to help her cope with a degenerating spine and shoulder injury.

The damage was so bad that her two daughters, son, granddaughter and grandson had to wear hazmat suits to cope with the mess.

She added: “If you imagine the issues you can pick up from the sewage. The health implications from breathing in sewage for a short time is bad enough but for nine days I have come back into the home.”

A spokesperson for Notting Hill Genesis said: “Residents in more than 300 of our homes were affected by the devastating flash floods on Monday (12 July).

“We appreciate completely how distressing the damage and upheaval has been, and our housing teams worked hard to ensure everyone’s safety in the immediate aftermath.

“We visited all five affected homes on Westville Road last week and again over the weekend to assess the damage and arrange for people to be temporarily rehoused if necessary.

“We’re providing dehumidifiers and have carried out initial cleaning at all five addresses. We will need to return to four homes to do further cleaning once drainage work has been completed.

“That drainage work has been carried out in one property already and will be booked for the rest.

“We will then revisit to establish what further works might be required.”

Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter

July 20, 2021