Can’t use your toilet because of sewerage and water leaks? Have a bucket

Portloo in Newham council flat

On the subject of actual shit repairs:

Visited a part-council block in Newham on the weekend, to take pictures of mould, water and sewerage running down the walls (more on that soon).

Went into the flat of a woman who was no longer keen to use the toilet in her bathroom because of the water/sewerage which drips onto the latrine occupant. You’ll see in the photo below that she’d tried to get around this by stringing a black plastic bag over the toilet to re-route the streams.

This had all been going on long enough for her to make a formal complaint to the council, with a view to approaching the ombudsman.

Rubbish bag over toilet to protect user from water and sewerage coming through gap.

Rubbish bag over toilet to protect user from water and sewerage coming through gap.

Here’s the incredible bit though. The council appears to have countered by giving her a portaloo – a bucket with a little seat. The bucket was very little too. You could definitely only have one guest around and not for very long. Emptying it was also going to be a challenge. We had a few suggestions about possible council and government sites, but all of those involved potentially tricky rides on crowded public transport, so maybe not one to try unless you had really good balance.

Needless to say, the woman had not tried the portaloo out yet. She was using other people’s toilets. They’re not at the portaloo stage. Yet. In the meantime, we rock on with council repairs. While you’re waiting for repairs, you can either wear crap, or handle it. Probably go for wearing it myself.


16 thoughts on “Can’t use your toilet because of sewerage and water leaks? Have a bucket

  1. Any chance this latest poor bloody sod could approach the media?
    Is it possible for her to tell the council that that is what she plans to do?

    I know I’m pissing into the wind (no pun), but the only thing I can think of is to shine a light on these bastards. The thing they really hate is public exposure.

    Regulators have become facilitators. The long drawn out procedure is designed to put people off. The LGO is a protector of councils, not an arbitrator.

    • Well the local MP Lyn Brown has been in touch to say to contact her so that is… something. It’s the whole block of flats – I was there on Saturday taking pics of mould, brown water staining wet walls, puddles, portaloos – you name it. It’s all going down one side of the flats, so some knackered pipework wrecking the joint I imagine. Been going on for a long time – think with these things you have to wait for a ceiling to fall on someone before the system gears up etc

  2. Oh for God’s sake. That’s taking the piss. The Housing Ombudsman is the way to go but you have to have followed the Council’s own complaints process first, or at least that was the case some years ago when I went down that route over a unrepaired shower not usable for 9 months in a bedsit with no bath. Failing that find out the home address of whoever is in charge of the Council plumbing repairs department and go round to their house each morning to use the toilet or have a dump on their doorstep.

    • Yep this person has been through the complaints process so ombudsman next.

      You’re right about emptying the bucket. I thought Jeremy Hunt’s letter slot would be a good location. Probably have to wait in line though

  3. Never mind bloody Austerity, the housing situation in this country is horrendous and needs Billions chucking at it, thereby providing work also for the Construction industry all the trades involved, and business for the trade suppliers etc. Finished result would be no substandard accommodation, suitable quality housing for all at affordable prices. It’s the 21st Century ffs. Why does no one in positions of power/authority give a fuck? We’re not living in some shanti town in India. Politicians need to wake the fuck up and earn their fat salaries.

    • It certainly is. It reminds me of searching through the Leeds City archives when researching my family tree and I came across a Housing category called “unhealthy areas”, places where up to 200 people shared at two outdoor soil toilets that only got dug out once in about 4 years, pools of human waste in the streets, overcrowded housing, outbreaks of Cholera and Typhoid. Mind you that was in the 1860s.

  4. Pingback: Update on mould shocker & the bucket for a toilet at Brassett Point estate | Kate Belgrave

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