GARDENERS at a community allotment are threatening to concrete over drains in a bid to stop waste overflowing.
Plot owners at Spyral Gardens, in Murton, say they have had to clean up for more than four years because of the sewage they say is pumped on to the land by the pipes.
Committee members have suggested they may concrete over the outlets and create a rock garden to block off the source of the sewage, which they fear could make chickens on the plot ill.
They believe it is the result of waste from new houses nearby, but Northumbrian Water says that takes a different route and is carrying out inquiries into the cause.
Jimmy Collings, a member of Spyral Gardens’ committee, said: “Stuff has been coming out of those pipes and it’s costing us quite a lot of money to clear up. We haven’t got the funds to keep doing it.
“The pipe is only about six inches wide and was put in before the houses around went up and it just can’t cope.
“We need a bigger drain. We’ve had cameras down, but it keeps building up. We need this problem sorted.”
He added that the project, which won the backing of Secret Millionaire Carl Hopkins after he spent time in East Durham as part of the Channel 4 programme, has to use 10 bottles of disinfectant on the mess each time the drain overflows.
Money made from the sale of eggs laid by the garden’s chickens has also been lost, as gardeners could not sell produce from the birds for fear they may have consumed some of the sewage.
A spokeswoman for Northumbrian Water said: “We appreciate the distress that any type of flooding causes.
“The new housing development near Spyral Gardens does not flow into the sewer that serves the allotments.
“We are carrying out detailed investigations, including a CCTV camera survey and drainage mapping, to check our sewerage system in this area is operating as it should be.
“The results will determine future actions required, if any.
“We have cleansed the sewers around the allotments a number of times in the past and have always found the problem to be blockages.”