Homes with extensions in the Isle of Axholme could face bills for flood repairs
Hundreds of homeowners who have had extensions or conservatories built could find themselves with an unexpected bill amid fears illegal connections to sewers caused recent flooding in Crowle.
The possible explanation came as residents attended the first of a series of drop-in sessions on flooding issues, held at the Crowle Community Hub.
The event was set up to keep the public informed and updated about the issues surrounding water and flooding in Crowle and Ealand.
A joint survey is to be undertaken by Severn Trent Water, North Lincolnshire Council and the Isle of Axholme and North Nottinghamshire Water Level Management Board.
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It aims to better understand the area and calculate what caused the area's sewers to be unable to cope with the volumes of water when the heavy rains fell last month.
The project, due to start shortly, will map out what goes into the sewers and run-off drains and whether what is running into them is correct.
Homes and gardens on streets including Potts Lane, Godnow Road, Outgate in Ealand, Windsor Road, South Field Road and Lindum Grove were flooded with raw sewage in July.
Zelia Lyne, sewerage manager at Severn Trent Water, said: "We believe there are probably lots of misconnections of people connecting to the sewer and this rainwater is putting pressure on the system.
"The study will show an ingress of water and once we've found it, we will cap it off and serve notice to whoever is responsible. For instance, if somebody builds a conservatory, they are legally allowed to connect to the correct sewer system but that have to apply for the connection so we can make sure the hydraulics can cope with what's going in.
"Sewers are for foul drainage only, they aren't built to take surface water."
Illegal misconnections might not be the main cause, as the study could reveal a hydraulic issue, which would create a need for the sewer to be upsized.
Margaret Osbourne, 64, of Commonside, Crowle, has lived at her home for the past 36 years and suffered flooding this year and in 2007. She had raw sewage just metres from her back door. She said: "The problems here have never ever been dealt with. We hope it gets resolved."
David Sisson, engineer to the drainage board, added: "We have got plans to invest £1 million to upgrade the Pauper's Drain and that project will start towards the end of the next financial year, subject to grant support."
Rob Beales, head of better routes at North Lincolnshire Council, said work was still ongoing to repair damage following the deluge. He said: "We will carry out the work and if we can find out who is responsible we will recharge the cost of the work to them."