Shotton great-grandmother's garden sprayed by toilet waste

Published date: 27 February 2014 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


A GREAT-GRANDMOTHER has described the horror of toilet waste being sprayed into her garden by passing trains.

Susan Leigh, of Chester Close in Shotton, said washing on her line had been covered in the waste from trains travelling along the line from Wrexham to Bidston.

The 64-year-old said she was forced to bleach her garden after it was covered by waste and she stopped her grandchildren playing outside to protect their health.

She said: “I had a new bedding set and I put it on the line and the baby clothes.

When I came out it was covered everywhere.

“Luckily I had moved the Wendy house and swings that I have at the bottom of my garden to mow the lawn. If they were there they would have been covered.

“I had to go out with a scarf around my face and plastic bags around my feet and bin the whole lot.”

Mrs Leigh’s complaints have come after the Leader reported concerns a councillor had about the practice.

Hawarden councillor Clive Carver said the practice was “disgusting” and demanded action to protect residents.

Mrs Leigh said waste had sprayed into her back garden several times, but the incident which led her to bleach her garden was the most shocking.

She said: “It covered my sheets and pillow cases and I had to shut all of the windows. I didn’t know where it had come from – I thought it was coming from planes flying overhead. I couldn’t believe the mess. It was atrocious.”

Mrs Leigh says her back garden is about 10 feet from the line. “I’m surprised it is getting dumped there because I am so close to Shotton station,” she said.

“I’ve got two great-grandchildren of two and five and I can’t let them play in the garden because it is very dangerous.

“I couldn’t have them walking on that.

“There’s old people around here and it’s dangerous for them.”

Last week Cllr Carver said his main concern was with a planned development at the end of Overlea Drive in Hawarden.

He said it was being built close to the line, with some houses just six feet away.

He said: “They are releasing it straight onto the railway track without any treatment or anything.

“At times the train gets up quite a speed and if it is on an embankment it is going to run down the hill and anyone with property or play areas in the vicinity of the railway embankment could be sprayed.

“Train companies must stop doing it.”

The development is being carried out by Redrow for 45 homes at Gladstone Leigh.

Last week, a spokesman for Redrow Homes (NW) said: “We have no knowledge of any such incidents and, if true, assume it is a matter the rail service provider will address.”

A spokesman for Arriva Trains Wales, which runs services on the line, confirmed toilet waste was being released on the track.

They said: “The majority of Arriva Trains Wales’ rolling stock, except for the Class 175, was built prior to 1997 and as standard were not fitted with toilet retention tanks.

“Network Rail, which is responsible for the railway infrastructure, carries out track cleaning and a contract is in place to clean the track bed of deposits.

“We ask passengers to refrain from using toilets when trains are stationary in any station platform on our network.

“All rolling stock built prior to 1997 will be withdrawn from operation by 2020.

“Those built since 1997 will be fitted with toilet retention tanks and the practice of deposits onto the tracks from trains will be eliminated.

“We are sorry if local residents living very close to the tracks have encountered issues with train waste and would encourage them to speak to our customer relations department.”

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