Cyprus Mail

Larnaca couple tormented by neighbour’s overflowing cesspit

feature jon a sewage truck is sent to empty the cesspit, but the stench returns in a matter of days
Stench of raw sewage returns just a few days after cesspit is emptied

A British man living in Oroklini has exhausted all his resources in trying to find a solution to a very smelly problem affecting his everyday life for over two years.

Adrien Tennant and his wife moved into a house in the village in October 2020. After a few months, however, the couple started noticing an unbearable stench coming from outside the property at all hours of the day and of the night.

After spending days investigating the causes behind it, Tennant found out that the smell was the result of a leaking cesspit outside a nearby apartment complex, called Forest Park.

“We discovered that the complex’s cesspit was leaking and raw sewage was flowing down the road in front of our house,” Tennant told the Sunday Mail.

feature jon main raw sewage on the street outside the couple's home reappers every few days
Raw sewage on the street outside the couple’s home reappers every few days

“The first thing we did was talk to our lawyer to find out what to do. His advice was not to take legal action as that can take a long time in Cyprus.”

The couple’s lawyer suggested drafting a petition along with  residents in the area affected by the same problem, which he would, in turn, send to the Oroklini community council and to the apartment complex’s administrator, who at the time was a management company called Bespoke.

“We followed his advice and the petition was signed by 17 households in the neighbourhood who were all affected by the issue,” Tennant said. “Unfortunately, the situation persisted. I phoned Bespoke who told me that this was just one of the issues that people have to put up with in Cyprus!”

With no solutions provided by Forest Park’s administration, Tennant then turned to the village community council to seek help.

“I spoke to the person in charge of the health department, as a leaking cesspit is an issue that affects people’s life quality. He promised to resolve the situation.

“He even said that if the problem continued the council would cut the water supply to the Forest Park, so they were forced to solve the problem.”

Tennant explained that the faulty cesspit overflowed on numerous occasions, adding that the community council occasionally dispatched a tank to empty it. However, once emptied, the sewage simply returned in a matter of days.

A few months after the problem started, Forest Park changed management, from Bespoke to Seven Property Management.feature jon

“It changed nothing,” Tennant said. “The cesspit kept overflowing. By spring 2022, the tanker was coming three times a week to empty the cesspit, but sometimes it still overflowed, especially if we had heavy rain.”

The couple was also informed by the Oroklini community council that Forest Park had applied to dig a new cesspit under the road. However, Tennant was informed that it might take at least two years for a new sewage system to be installed. Up to now, no solution to the issue has been found.

“Having a functional cesspit for a communal property is an EU requirement,” he said. “But the sewage still flows regularly despite the cesspit being emptied frequently.

“I’m sure this issue is taking place in several other places across the country. However, a few months ago a family moved into the Forest Park complex next to the cesspit. They have young children who often play outside. What will happen if one of these children fall ill?”

Last month, the Oroklini community council informed the British couple that it contacted the apartment complex’s administration to explain the situation in detail in a letter, two years after it emerged.

The community council’s health official, who has been in touch with Tennant for about a year regarding the problem, asked him to grant the company two weeks to reply.

When contacted by the Sunday Mail, Seven Property Management said they are aware of the ongoing issue, but that there are structural obstacles in the village preventing from finding a permanent solution.

“The problem is that the cesspit outside Forest Park is extremely far from the main sewage system of the area,” Christina Perfett, the account manager of the apartment complex told the Sunday Mail.

“The Oroklini community council does not have the resources to link the overflowing cesspit to the main sewage system.”

Perfett added that the property’s management committee also looked into the possibility of building a new cesspit altogether, but, once again, it found out that it is not a feasible option for the time being.

“The situation is not ideal, but, after engaging with engineers and specialists, it was decided that the best solution to the issue at the moment is to empty the cesspit every six days, which is what is currently taking place.”

Tennant, who confirmed that fact that a tanker regularly empties the overflowing cesspit, however, is at his wit’s end.

“We feel that we have exhausted all possible avenues and yet been let down on numerous occasions,” he said.

“We also feel we have been very patient as this issue has been ongoing for well over two years. How long do we still need to wait to live normally?”

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