SOUTHAMPTON shopkeepers are asking when a sewage shambles that threatens the future of their businesses will be fixed.
When an underground sewerage pipe burst back in February, concerned traders in Bitterne Park quickly called on Southern Water to repair the damage.
But nine months later, the waterworks still haven’t been properly replaced and a build up of sewage has weakened the foundations of the three-storey terrace.
Now business owners fear for the future of their premises, after gaping cracks started appearing in the walls.
One has even vowed to sue Southern Water, after claiming the saga has cost him around £80,000 in lost business.
Sas Mohamadi, who has owned Sasanian Persian Rugs in The Triangle for 14 years, told the Daily Echo he was forced to throw away £10,000-worth of stock after his basement was flooded by human waste.
He believes he lost a further £70,000 in repeat business, claiming customers have been put off by the smell left behind by the leak.
Sas, 52, said: “Southern Water told us the job was done months ago, but clearly it wasn’t. “I still have two holes in my basement floor where you can see the water underneath.
“They fitted a temporary manhole cover five months ago to try and get rid of it, but that’s the last time I saw anyone from Southern Water.”
He added: “The sewage is now damaging our foundations. The buildings are subsiding and there are cracks appearing in the walls.
“It’s got to a stage where the buildings are in danger of collapse, but they don’t seem to be worried. It’s outrageous.
“We are lucky this is a terrace. If it was a detached property it would be gone by now.”
Glenn Bennett, from neighbouring Bennett Barbers, said: “Southern Water just don’t seem to care. They are a bunch of jobsworths. “We haven’t been hit as badly as Sas, but the smell outside is just awful. It’s bound to put people off.”
Building control surveyors from Southampton City Council are now set to slap a 28-day enforcement notice on the building, during which the repair work must be completed.
A Southern Water spokesman said: “Mr Mohamadi contacted Southern Water to tell us about the damaged sewer in February.
“We visited the site and carried out a temporary repair while a more permanent solution was being identified.
“Our CCTV sewer investigations carried out on site confirmed that Southern Water’s sewer had partially collapsed under the property.
“Damage of this type can be caused by many reasons and investigations are not yet concluded.
“During this time, our technical team have liaised with Mr Mohamadi and his representatives and this liaison is continuing.
“Southern Water is now diverting the sewer away from the properties to avoid the need of having to replace the damaged part of the sewer inside the property.
“This new diverted sewer will also ensure minimal disruption in the future. Our long term plan is now in place.
“We are laying 70 metres of new sewer to replace the existing one under the property on Cobden Avenue.
“Work started on November 19 and should complete in approximately 14 weeks.”