Couple's sewage disaster in new Punggol BTO flat explodes online

SINGAPORE - Just a week before a young family was due to move into their new home in Punggol, they were shocked to hear from the Housing Board on Monday that there had been flooding in their unit.

When they arrived, they found it was not just water that covered the floor of the flat, but faeces as well.

Cement had choked the common sewage pipe shared by their seventh floor unit and those above it in Block 313C Sumang Link, causing a backflow into their home.

The owner, who gave her name as Ms Fadilah, 31, said she and her husband are "upset, stressed and angry".

"The dream house we have long waited to move into, which was complete with new furniture, was damaged just like that," she said. The renovations had been completed just a few months ago.

Photographs circulating online show faeces and murky water covering the floor of a toilet, hallway and living room.

It had even seeped into the children's bedroom and out of the front door. This was how a neighbour noticed something was amiss and called HDB last Friday, said another neighbour, Ms Fadhilah, 29.

A Pasir Ris-Punggol Town Council spokesman said it was alerted by HDB on Monday morning. Town council and HDB staff went to the flat to help the family to clean up.

Confirming it was renovation debris that had caused the choke, he said: "We will be working with the HDB to find the culprit."

Ms Fadilah told evening daily Shin Min that when her husband turned up at their flat in Sumang Link, he was confronted with what she described as a "giant toilet bowl".

"My husband was so shocked that he just stood at the doorway crying. He couldn't believe what he was seeing," she said.

The family had spent some $50,000 on renovations alone, and intends to redo the whole house, including all the flooring which had stains between the tiles. A stench still lingered.

Ms Fadilah, who works in sales, said they have to be very careful about hygiene as they have small children and a newborn baby.

The family of five had been living with her parents and planned to move into the new flat after the baby's first month, evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported yesterday.

At the unit yesterday, disinfectant could be smelt from outside the flat. Most of the surrounding units in the 13-month-old block appeared to be occupied.

Ms Fadhilah, the neighbour, said Ms Fadilah's husband had cleaned the flat all Monday. "They are quite sad," she said.

The town council spokesman said that he understood Ms Fadilah's family was planning to claim compensation. "When we receive the claim we will submit it to an insurer for processing."

Ms Fadilah said they are waiting for their interior designer to check the damage.

"We hope this matter can be resolved as soon as possible," she said. "We really hope we are able to celebrate Hari Raya at our house in July with our family and friends."

This article was first published on May 12, 2015.
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