A CHURCH was inundated with sewage because a pipe was blocked with flushed wet wipes.

Minister Tony Bickley said his congregation have had to contend with raw sewage flowing into the car park at Ebenezer Reformed Church in Brighton.

Earlier this month The Argus reported that Mr Bickley had complained to the authorities for months about the problem, without action being taken.

Southern Water, Brighton and Hove City Council and Hyde Housing all pledged to look into the problem and fix it.

But on Monday this week, he once again found the unholy mess had spread across the church car park in Richmond Parade.

The filth was four inches deep and Mr Bickley had to draft in help to clear it.

He said the church was built as part of a development by Hyde Housing, which is responsible for maintaining the building.

Previously he reported the problem had got so bad that sewage was actually leaking into the church itself, forcing worshippers to have to walk around the building to go to the front entrance.

Hyde Housing apologised for the problems caused and this week has pledged to fix the problem.

Meanwhile Southern Water has also investigated the problem and is expected to carry out repairs.

Mr Bickley said: “It took the guys two hours down there to clear it with the tanker to pump out the sewage, and environmental health need to come in to do a deep clean of the car park.

“We’ve had to put sandbags in the staircase at the back of the church, which means only the liquid now comes in.

“Southern Water said one of the problems was caused by wet wipes and sanitary towels from the flats being flushed down the toilets.

“They are now checking on a regular basis, and the situation has changed.”

Southern Water has made an application to dig under the area to fix one of the problems.

On its website it says residents should obey the rule of the “three Ps” for flushing items down the toilet – pee, poo and paper.

The company said: “Toilet paper decomposes naturally and can be flushed away safely, but non-biodegradable items, such as wet wipes, should be put in the bin.

“Wet wipes are one of the biggest causes of blockages in sewers and at wastewater treatment works.

“Even wipes described as flushable cause blockages and the biodegradable ones often don’t spend long enough in the sewer to start to decompose.”

Linda Colburn, director of property services at the Hyde Group, said: “A drains survey was carried out on Thursday, August 9, and we found that the problem is caused by the main sewer drain under Ivory Place.

“This means that Southern Water is responsible for fixing the pipe and they should be able to start work next week.

“In the meantime, Southern Water is responsible for dealing with any sewage overflow issues and both our team and Southern Water are monitoring the situation on a daily basis.

“We have updated our residents and asked them to report any sewage leaks to us as a matter of urgency, which we will then report to Southern Water who have promised to attend within four hours.”