ACTION is needed to prevent human waste merging with flood water in Darlington, a councillor has warned.

Councillor Ian Galletley, College ward member of Darlington Borough Council, told a meeting of the full authority while maintenance of drains was a matter for private company Northumbrian Water, for residents there were “few greater domestic miseries” than flooding.

He said in newer areas flood water and foul water were separated, but in Victorian parts of town, including underneath some of Darlington’s busiest roads, there remained combined drains.

Cllr Galletley said: “So when flooding happens it is a very unpleasant matter indeed. I still bear the scars of having to shovel all sorts of things out of the basement of my house. Also in the west end are a great many trees, the roots of which break into combined drains, with disastrous effect when you get unexpected heavy rainfall.”

He said Northumbrian Water had “invested heavily” in a new interceptor sewer to ease the issue, but pressed the council to prioritise pressing the firm to replace the combined drains.